Dwyane Wade Opens Up About Supporting His Transgender Child, Who’s Now Going by Zaya

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Former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has always made his family a central part of his life, and that approach continues in retirement as he supports his transgender child.

Wade spoke to Ellen DeGeneres on her daily talk show about how his younger son, Zion, who informed the future Hall of Famer and his wife, Gabrielle Union, last year about the dramatic change that was being undertaken.

“Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home — I don’t know if everyone knows, originally named Zion,” said Wade. “Zion, born 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’d love for you guys to call me Zaya.’”

The decision was met with total support by Wade and Union, with Wade indicating that until the child reaches adulthood, the Heat legend and his wife will make a concerted effort to champion transgender causes.

“Once Zion came home and said, ‘Call me Zaya,’ and ‘I’m ready to take on this,’ I looked at her and said, ‘You are a leader. It’s our opportunity to allow you to be a voice,’” said the 38-year-old Wade. “Right now, it’s through us, because she’s 12 years old, but eventually, it will be through her.”

Wade also indicated that he and his wife inquired with pertinent groups in order to offer cogent advice in the future about how the child could reach her full potential.

“That was our job, to go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have. My wife reached out to everybody on the cast of ‘Pose,’” Wade said, referring to the FX drama series centered around black and latino LGBTQ characters. “We just tried to figure out as much information as we can to make sure we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self.”

Union also tweeted out a video of the younger Wade speaking about the issue with her father.

Last year, the younger Wade came out as gay, with Union taking part in the Miami Beach Pride parade last April and the elder Wade offering his support. Those actions led to backlash from critics, which didn’t deter Wade from speaking out about his continued efforts on his child’s behalf.

Inevitably, this most recent decision by the younger Wade will also be subject to criticism, though it appears clear that the support of Wade and Union will remain firmly intact.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for HeatNation.com, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.