Video Dwyane Wade’s Candid Talk About Supporting His 12-Year-Old's Gender Identity

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Feb 11, 2020


Dwyane Wade’s Candid Talk About Supporting His 12-Year-Old's Gender Identity
Dwyane Wade’s Candid Talk About Supporting His 12-Year-Old's Gender Identity thumb Dwyane Wade’s Candid Talk About Supporting His 12-Year-Old's Gender Identity thumb Dwyane Wade’s Candid Talk About Supporting His 12-Year-Old's Gender Identity thumb


  • Thanks for being here.
  • Thank you.
  • That was a clip from the ESPN documentary.
  • And first of all, I just--
  • I think it's what every--
  • you know, every parent should be is what you're being right now,
  • which is unconditionally loving your child
  • and supporting your child--
  • Thank you.
  • --in whoever they are.
  • I mean--
  • Thank you.
  • That's-- there are so many parents that are just, oh,
  • you're not going the way I imagined or wanted you to be
  • and freak out.
  • And you're so loving and supportive of Zaya.
  • And what a special child she is.
  • Yeah, she is, she is.
  • Thank you so much for that.
  • First of all, me and my wife, my wife Gabrielle Union,
  • we are proud, when I say proud, we are proud parents of a child
  • in the LGBTQ+ community.
  • And we're proud allies as well.
  • And we take our roles and our responsibility
  • as parents very seriously.
  • So when our child comes home with a question,
  • when our child comes home with a 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.
  • So once Zaya, our 12-year-old came home--
  • and first Zion-- everybody--
  • I don't know if everyone knows-- originally named Zion, Zion
  • born as a boy, came home and said, hey,
  • so I want to talk to you guys.
  • I think going forward, I'm ready to live my truth.
  • And I want to be referenced as she and her.
  • I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.
  • And so internally, now it's our job to,
  • one, go out and get information, to reach out
  • to every relationship that we have.
  • My wife reached out to everybody on the cast of "Pose."
  • And we're just trying to figure out
  • as much information we can to make sure
  • that we give our child the best opportunity to be, you know,
  • her best self.
  • Yeah.
  • I mean, I would think that it's one thing--
  • It's one thing to have this at home, but knowing that she's
  • going to be out in the world--
  • Yeah.
  • --because you're a public figure,
  • and even if you weren't, she's going to school,
  • and to want to be protective and to make sure she's safe--
  • Yes.
  • --that must be a scary thing, because it's one thing for you
  • to love her and your wife to love her, but that must--
  • you just want everyone to love her the same way.
  • Exactly.
  • And once Zaya came home and said, hey, you call me Zion,
  • I'm ready to take on this, I looked at her and said,
  • you are a leader.
  • You are a leader.
  • And this is 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.
  • Right.
  • Well, and GLSEN is an organization
  • you're working with.
  • And there's a lot of-- if anybody else there-- out
  • there can relate to this and needs help,
  • you can go to our website and we can direct you,
  • because I'm sure there are a lot of people that
  • just don't know what to do.
  • Yeah.
  • So you're a great example.
  • Thank you.
  • The-- I know that everybody is still grieving over the loss
  • of Kobe--
  • Yeah.
  • --and all the people that we lost on--
  • you must have a lot of memories of Kobe.
  • And he was-- he was just such a light, wasn't he?
  • He was just such a bright, bright light.
  • He was special.
  • I mean, I think my favorite-- you know,
  • we all have stories and moments of our interactions with Kobe.
  • But I think what was special about him
  • and why you see so many guys in the NBA or so many younger guys
  • really tore up about this is because he was
  • the first superstar that really embraced different generations,
  • really embraced us.
  • And I think from, like, 2008 on, from the Olympics on,
  • he really put his arms around us,
  • as competitors, and the rest of the world.
  • You saw him being more involved in so many different sports,
  • not just basketball and soccer, obviously,
  • with his daughter and women basketball.
  • But he just started being a person
  • that everybody can call and reach out to and say, hey,
  • Kobe, I have a question.
  • So I'm going to miss that example--
  • Yeah.
  • --not only just my friend, but that example
  • that he was setting not only for me, but with so many others.
  • Yep.
  • Yep.
  • Well said.
  • He was a good guy.
  • Yeah.
  • You're a good guy.
  • You've got to see the documentary.
  • It's called D. Wade, Life Unexpected.
  • It airs Sunday, February 23, at 9:00 on ESPN.
  • We'll be right back.

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Dwyane Wade candidly chatted with Ellen about embracing his 12-year-old's gender identity, and how he and his wife Gabrielle Union made it a priority to educate themselves about the LGBTQ+ community to give Zaya the opportunity to be her best self. The NBA star also opened up about the passing of his friend Kobe Bryant.

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