“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,” the former NBA star, 38, said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday, February 11. “We take our roles and our responsibilities as parents very seriously.”
He continued, “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.”
Wade explained to the studio audience that Zaya was “born as a boy” and “originally named Zion.” But one day, the preteen sat down with her father and stepmother Union, 47, and shared her story.
“[She] 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,’” the athlete recalled. “Now it’s our job to one, go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have.”
That said, Wade revealed that the former America’s Got Talent judge contacted the cast of the award-winning FX series Pose, which made TV history by having the largest cast of transgender actors.
“We’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self,” he told Ellen DeGeneres.
The former Miami Heat player also shared a conversation that he had with Zaya after she came out.
“I said, ‘You are a leader. You are a leader, and this is an opportunity to allow you to be a voice,’” he shared. “Right now it’s through us because she’s 12 years old, but eventually it will be through her.”
Wade and Union made headlines in April 2019 when they attended the Miami Beach Pride festival with Zaya. More recently, in November, the 13-time NBA All-Star slammed social media trolls who mocked Zaya for wearing fake nails in a Thanksgiving family photo.
Wade shares son Zaire, 18, and Zaya with his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches. He is also the father of son Xavier, 6, with Aja Metoyer and daughter Kaavia, 15 months, with Union.