Retired NBA star Dwyane Wade is opening up on being an ally with his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, to their 12-year-old child, Zaya.
Wade said that he and Union are "proud ... parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community -- and we're proud allies as well," during a recent appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
"We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously," he explained. "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 that, to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can -- and that doesn't change because sexuality's now involved in it."
The former basketball player spoke about the day Zaya came home and told her parents she'd like to be referred to as 'she.'
"Once Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home -- first Zion, I don't know if everybody knows, originally named Zion, born as a boy -- came home and said, 'Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I am 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 said.
- 1December 20, 2019
After learning this from Zaya, Wade and Union wanted to get as much education and information as they could, he said. "So internally, now it's our job to one, go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have," he added.
"My wife reached out to everybody on the cast of 'Pose'," he continued. "We're just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunities to be her best self."
After Wade's interview aired, Union also shared a video of Zaya in which she speaks about the importance of living one's truth.
"Meet Zaya. She's compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her," Union captioned the clip. "It’s O.K. to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people."
In the video, Zaya says, "[To anyone] who is afraid they're going to be judged, I would say don't even think about that. Just be true to yourself.... 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 like the dumbest concept to me."
"Be true and don't really care what the 'stereotypical' way of being you is," she adds.
Meet Zaya. She's compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people. pic.twitter.com/G2lLVdD2VT— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) February 11, 2020
"I know it can get tough," she continued. "But I think you push through and you be the best you, and especially more recently it's become more accepting, even though there are still obviously a lot of people out there who still are set more in the 'back in their days' way of mind. But I think even through hard times, you gotta just push through. It's worth it."
In December 2019, Wade also shared what he's learned from Zaya's journey and what he hopes others remember before making hateful comments.
"I’ve watched my son, from day one, become into who she now eventually has come into," he said during an interview with "All the Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson." "Nothing changes with my love. Nothing changes with my responsibilities. Only thing I gotta do now is get smarter and educate myself more. And that's my job."
"So all these people that's out there saying those [hateful] things, look at yourself," he continued. "Understand that you're the one that's got the issues. You're the one that's got the problems. It's not the kids."