Dwyane Wade has some powerful words when it comes to being a father and raising his daughter Zaya, who came out as transgender when she was 12. While walking the carpet for the 2022 Met Gala, Variety asked the basketball player about raising Zaya — and he offered thoughtful advice. .
“…Make sure that you sit back and see what it is in life that they want to do, and try to go there with them, and try to help them, mold them into what it is they want to be and who they want to be,” he said.
“We believe them when they tell us who they are,” Gabrielle Union, who is step-mother to Zaya, added.
When asked for words Wade might share with a father who just found out that his child is trans, Wade said: “The moment when you were in the hospital and you grabbed your daughter and you looked at your daughter, all the emotions that went through your mind and how much love filled your heart at that moment. Don’t let that ever leave you — no matter what.”
He also encouraged parents to stop viewing their children as “mini-mes” and start seeing them as individuals. “We try to make them just like us, but our kids are going to be who they are, and it’s our job to help mold them and try to push them in the places that they want to go,” Wade explained.
Both Wade and Union have been outspoken activists for the trans community. They’ve also been honest about the learning curve they went through after Zaya came out. “I come from a locker room of a macho, male-dominant sport,” Wade told PEOPLE last year. “But I started learning and I started to watch her. And from then on we started having more conversations.”
“We’re going to mess up,” Union added. “We’re going to say the wrong thing. But we had to learn and be led.”
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