Dwyane Wade and his family have been open about their support for his child, first named Zion, and her journey of self-discovery. Now the future NBA Hall of Famer has revealed on Ellen that the 12-year-old will from now on be referred to as Zaya, and use she/her pronouns.
"First of all me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and we’re proud allies as well," Wade said at the start of his recent conversation with Ellen DeGeneres. "Once Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home—first named Zion... originally born a boy—came home and said 'Hey I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I'm ready to live my truth," Wade said about the moment Zaya came out as transgender. "I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.'
As a father of four, Wade explained that he and Union take their jobs as parents seriously, and that they tapped into their vast networks to gather as much information on Zaya's transition as possible. "Me and my wife Gabrielle Union are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community," he said.
"So internally it’s our job to one go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have," Wade continued. "My wife reached out to everyone on the cast of Pose. We just tried to figure out as much information as we can to help our child be her best self."
Wade also understands that his status as an NBA icon, in addition to his wife's career as a successful actress, automatically puts Zaya in the spotlight. Instead of shying away from attention, Wade wants her to embrace it, so that she can become an example for people who are also fighting to live their truth.
"I looked at her and said you are a leader," Wade said. "It’s our opportunity to allow you to be a voice. Right now, it’s through us because she’s 12 years old, but eventually, it will be through her."
On Tuesday, Union posted a video on Instagram introducing Zaya to the world.
"She's compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her," Union captioned the video. "It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people."
Meanwhile, the Wade-Union family is working closely with organizations like GLSEN to help make schools more accepting of LGBTQ+ children. Wade will also touch on Zaya's journey in his upcoming ESPN documentary D Wade: Life Unexpected ,which airs on Feb. 23.