Dwyane Wade recalls the moment he knew he needed to grow as a parent

NBA star and father of four Dwyane Wade opens up further about his parenting journey and embracing daughter Zaya’s gender.

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union have become model parents of a queer child. However, their parenting journey has been far from easy. 

As reported by Today, during the Creative Artists Agency Amplify Summit in Ojai, California, on June 27, Wade opened up about the moment his daughter Zaya, now 16, revealed she was transgender at age 12.

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The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade is seen on April 1 during the Basketball Hall of Fame press conference in Houston, Texas, where it was announced that he is an inductee. This week, he talked about his journey as a parent. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

Wade said he was prepared for Zaya to come out in some fashion since she’d identified herself as gay in school at age 8. He wasn’t prepared for a more significant disclosure — and how the moment ultimately went down.

“It was fear in my child’s face to tell me,” he said. “So I came home, and I just remember my child being scared to talk to me, like hiding in my wife’s arm in a chair.”

Until that moment, Wade had considered himself a “cool dad” his children could tell anything. 

“And so I had to check myself,” he continued. “I had to go look myself in the mirror and ask myself: ‘Why was my child scared? Scared to tell me something about herself?'” 

He said he began by listening to Zaya and seeking expert resources and information. He has since become a dedicated ally and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. 

“In a lot of work as parents and as people, what we do is we put our fears and everything on our kids. And I guess I was doing that,” he said. “[I had to] ask myself… What is it about my masculinity that has my child afraid?”

Since the Wade family has gone public about Zaya’s gender and evolution into a young teen, they have faced significant backlash. Wade said the public’s “miseducation” of transgender children is among the hardest issues his family navigates. 

“I became all kinds of things because I support my child and being who she is,” he said, adding, “I’ve become ‘gay.'”

Noting how quickly some have rushed to judge his fashion and aesthetic choices in addition to his support of his child, he continued, “I think the hardest part about it is shutting out the world and shutting out the people that really are not in (our) circle.”

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