No parent should have to feel the kind of fear Dwyane Wade experiences when his 15-year-old trans daughter Zaya walks outside. The basketball player opened up to CNN at the TIME100 Summit about the worries he has for Zaya’s safety.
“As blessed as my daughter is to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves the house,” he said. “And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way that people perceive her in this world.”
Wade also touched on the flood of anti-LGBTQ laws that have been proposed in 2022, about half of which target transgender people, per NBC News. “This is our life. We live this and so when you’re out there making rules, and if you’re not experiencing this and you’re not living this and you’re just out there signing away and making laws, that’s not right,” he said. “That’s a joke. Come and live a day in my world with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.”
Zaya came out as trans in 2020. She’s been open about the awful messages she’s received from people on the internet ever since then. “As a trans person, once I came out, there was a lot of hateful comments about how I should grow my hair out long or fit into a certain version of femininity, even though that’s not true at all,” she said in an interview for the Dove Self-Esteem Project this year. “That kind of advice is just trying to break you, but don’t let it.”
Her step-mother Gabrielle Union noted that she reminds Zaya about “resisting anti-Blackness and not centering Eurocentric beauty ideals.”
She added: “You can be a ‘stunner’ or ‘classically beautiful person’ but if your soul is rotten, you are not very beautiful at all. We try to stress character, compassion, love, acceptance and joy. That hopefully radiates from the inside out. When it comes to how she moves through the world, we try to stress there is no one way to be a woman or to be feminine.”
We really cannot applaud Union and Wade more as parents. This is how it’s done.
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