Dwyane Wade Admits Being ‘Closed-Minded’ Before Raising Transgender Daughter Zaya

Dwyane Wade credits his transgender daughter, Zaya, with teaching him how to “grow.”

While speaking to “Entertainment Tonight” on Thursday, the former basketball player opened up about the support he and his family have received since detailing the 12-year-old’s coming-out story.

“Well, we’re not the only family that deals with all the things we’ve spoken about. We’re not the only family that had to deal with surrogacy to bring our daughter into the world,” Wade said, referencing his and wife Gabrielle Union’s 1-year-old girl, Kaavia. “We’re not the only family that’s had to deal with gender expression, gender identity, sexuality, with their child.”

The 38-year-old continued, “We understand the position we’ve been put in, especially in our community, and even though it’s not always a popular thing to speak out on issues that people are uncomfortable with or not as educated on, but this is the platform that God gave me and my family. So, we use it.”

Though he admits his childhood in Chicago made him “close-minded,” the athlete has learned to adopt a worldly point of view.

“For me, it’s always about being able to adapt and being able to learn, and always being able to grow,” he shared. “I think coming from the inner city of Chicago early on, I was kind of closed-minded on a lot of things. And I’ve been with my wife, traveling the world, meeting people, going to different places, I’ve learned to keep my mind open, keep my eyes open, keep my heart open, keep my thoughts open.”

He added, “That’s what I’ve been trying to do as I’m growing into the man that I’ve always dreamed of becoming.”

While appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” this week, Wade explained how Zaya revealed her gender identity to him and stepmother Union.

“So once Zaya, 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,’” he told Ellen DeGeneres.

Wade is also the father of Zaire Blessing Dwyane, 18, and Xavier Zechariah, 6, and is the guardian of nephew Dahveon Morris, 18.


More In Real Talk