Dwyane Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union have been an example of parents accepting their children for who they are. Wade recently stopped by The Ellen Degeneres Show to chat with Degeneres regarding his 12-year-old coming to them stating that she now wants to be called Zaya and be referred to using the pronouns she and her.
“It’s what every parent should be is what you’re being right now, which is unconditionally loving your child and supporting your child in whoever they are,” Degeneres told Wade before sharing his family’s story.
“There are so many parents that are just, ‘Oh you’re so not what I imagined or wanted you to be.’ And freak out. And you’re so loving and supportive of Zaya, and what a special child she is.”
“Me and my wife, Gabrielle Union are proud. When I say proud, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and we’re proud allies as well. And we take our roles and our responsibilities as parents very seriously,” Wade shared.
“So when a child comes home with a question. When a child comes home with an issue. When a child comes home with anything it’s our job as parents to listen to them and give them the best information and feedback as we can, and that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”
“So once Zaya our 12-year-old came home. First Zion, I don’t know if everybody knows she was originally 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 continued.
“So, now, internally it’s our job to, for one, go out and get information. To reach out to every relationship that we have. My wife reached out to the cast of Pose. We’re just trying to get as much information as we can so our child can be her best self.”
On Tuesday (Feb. 11), Union took to Instagram to introduce her 15.3 million followers to Zaya. The actress shared a video of Zaya talking about the announcement that her father and step-mother made regarding her new name. She also gave some advice for other children who are currently having the same experience but might be afraid to come out.
“Meet Zaya. She’s compassionate, loving, whip-smart and we are so proud of her,” Union wrote in the caption of her post. “It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people.”
“If they are afraid that they will be judged, I would say don’t even think about that. Just be true to yourself because are you really even…What’s the point of being on this earth if you’re going to try to be someone you’re not? It’s like you’re not even living as yourself which is the dumbest concept to me. Be true,” Zaya said in the video while riding on a golf cart alongside Wade.
“Even when people are being mean and when people are getting hurt because they’re trying to be themselves? Even through that, you still want people to live their truth?” Wade chimed in and asked Zaya.
“Yea. I know it can get tough definitely but I think you push you through and you be the best you. And especially more recently it’s becoming more accepting even though there are obviously a lot of people out there who are set in their back in the day ways. But it’s worth it,” Zaya responded.
“It’s very worth it when you reach that point of yourself. You can look in the mirror and say nice to meet YOU. Instead of not knowing who I am. It’s a full-on identity crisis.”
As we previously reported, last year, Union supported Zaya at the Miami Beach Gay Pride celebration in April.