• Dwayne Wade first talked about his child’s gender identity during a podcast interview late last December, expressing his support and admiration for her.
  • He and wife Gabrielle Union’s 12-year-old was born biologically a male named Zion, and has now chosen to be identified by female pronouns she/her/hers.
  • Wade opened up about Zaya during a recent interview with LGBTQ talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
  • Bearing in mind that a child coming out to their parents doesn’t always result in an easy conversation, we got advice for parents from an expert at the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the country.

Dwyane Wade, a former basketball player for the Miami Heat, is showing that he can lead by example both on the court and when it comes to accepting and supportive parenting. Last December, Wade first started using “she/her” pronouns when referring to his 12-year-old child Zaya, who was born biologically a male and named Zion.

Wade first started using new pronouns when describing his child during an interview with Showtime’s “All the Smoke” podcast in December, making a huge statement with one shift in his lexicon.

“I’ve watched my son from day one become into who she now eventually has come into. And for me it’s all about…nothing changes with my love, nothing changes with my responsibilities. Only thing I have to do now is get smarter and educate myself more, and that’s my job.”

During the same interview, Wade also praised his child’s strength saying, “…you want to talk about strength and courage? My 12-year-old has way more than I have. You can learn something from your kids. In our household, that’s all we talk about; we talk about making sure our kids are seen by each of us. Me and my wife [Gabrielle Union], we talk about making sure our kids understand the power in their voice. We want them to be whoever they feel they can be in this world. That’s our goal: Understand you can be whoever, you can be whatever.”

His interview with Ellen

During this Tuesday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Wade went into even more detail with host DeGeneres, who identifies as LGBTQ+ herself, about how he has supported his 12-year-old since Zaya first told him and Union that she wanted to be referred to using only female pronouns.

Ellen started the conversation by expressing her support for Wade and Union’s parenting practices. “First of all, I think 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,” said DeGeneres.

“Once Zaya… originally born Zion as a boy – came home and 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,’ ” Wade recalled.

“So internally, now it’s our job to go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have, and we’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self.”