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Dwyane Wade Publicly Supports His 12-Year-Old Daughter Coming Out as Trans

Here's how to be a supportive dad.

Parenting should come with unconditional love, and that’s exactly what Dwyane Wade gives to his children. The former basketball player opened up about supporting his 12-year-old daughter, Zaya, who came out as transgender and discussed the importance of supporting and advocating for our children.

“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 while a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “We take our roles and our responsibilities as parents very seriously.”

Wade explained to the audience that his daughter Zaya was “born a boy” and was “originally named Zion,” but one day, she sat her father and stepmom down for a conversation.

“[She] said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward; I’m ready to live my truth,” Wade recalled. “’And I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.’”

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A study from 2015 that was published in The Journal of Adolescent Health showed that trans kids are at a much higher risk of suicide, but a 2016 study in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that teens who are supported by their parents during in their transition are no more depressed than their cisgender peers. Proving that when it comes to protecting and nurturing our trans kids, this support is critical, and Wade and Union take that responsibility seriously.

“When our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can. And that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”

“I looked at her and said you are a leader,” Wade added, explaining his conversation with Zaya. “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.”