It’s not even June yet and Dwyane Wade is already making a serious bid for Father of the Year.
People reports that during his latest visit to Ellen, the three-time NBA champion discussed his personal journey to become an exceptionally supportive parent and also made a big reveal: His 12-year-old child will use the name “Zaya” moving forward.
“Our 12-year-old came home—first Zion, I don’t know if everyone knows, originally named Zion, born as 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. I want to be referenced as she and her, I would love for you guys to call me Zaya,’” Wade shared with the audience.
He also explained the importance of creating a loving environment in order to provide Zaya with “the best opportunity to be her best self.”
“Me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community,” Wade said. “And we’re proud allies as well. We take our roles and responsibilities as parents very seriously. So 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 now that sexuality [or gender] is now involved in it.”
In creating that environment, the recently retired NBA legend acknowledged that the onus falls on him and Union as parents to educate themselves on the challenges Zaya faces.
“Internally, it’s our job to, one, go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have, ” Wade explained. “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.”
As Out notes, Pose prominently features both trans and queer-identifying people on its staff, both in front of and behind the camera, who are well-equipped to provide the Wade family with sound advice.
The 38-year-old also made it a point to share how proud he is of Zaya and how her decision to come out provides her with the opportunity to empower others.
“Once Zaya came home and said, ‘I want you to call me Zaya and I’m ready to take on this,’ I looked at her and said, ‘You are a leader. And this is our opportunity to allow you to be a voice,’” Wade recalled. “Right now it’s through us, because she’s 12 years old, but eventually it will be through her.”
Much respect to Wade for not only being so supportive of Zaya, but other queer and trans children through his work with GLSEN, who’ve done amazing work to raise awareness and combat discrimination and harassment against members of the LGBTQ+ community since 1990.
You can watch Wade’s interview below.