Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade proudly throw their support behind Zaya, Dwyane's transgender daughter

By Zach Harper

It's not easy to live your truth, and transgender people know this very well. But support makes all the difference for anyone navigating a transition, and Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are doing just that for Dwyane's daughter Zaya, who has come out as transgender.

Earlier this week, Dwyane made headlines for an interview he did with Ellen DeGeneres, in which he spoke out about how Zaya, who was assigned male at birth, came out to her parents.

"Me and my wife Gabrielle Union are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community," Dwyane told Ellen. "And we are proud allies as well. We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously...

"So once Zaya, our 12-year-old, 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.' So internally, it's now our job to go get out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have – my wife reached out to everybody on the cast of Pose – we're just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self."

Dwyane with (L-R) nephew Dahveon Morris, Zaya, and Zaire in 2019. Photo: © Bobby Metelus/Getty Images

Ellen praised the former NBA player, who is also father to Kaavia James, 15 months, Xavier Zechariah, 6, and Zaire Blessing Dwyane, 18, and guardian to nephew Dahveon Morris, 18.

Zaya is Dwyane's daughter with his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches. Before she and Dwyane split up in 2010, they had two children including Zaya and Zaire. Xavier is Dwyane's son with ex-girlfriend Aja Metoyer. Gabrielle and Dwyane welcomed Kaavia in 2018.

"First of all, I thik it's what every parent should be, is what you're being right now," she said. "Which is unconditionally loving your child and supporting your child in whoever they are."

Dwyane and Gabrielle's parenting is being praised by fans worldwide, but the supportive father went on to say that he thinks his daughter is as much a role model as any parent.

"Once Zaya came home and said, 'I want you to call me Zaya and I'm ready to take on this,' I looked at her and said, 'You are a leader. And this is our opportunity to allow you to be a voice.'"

"Gender nonconforming children deserve to be heard, loved, and supported in their authenticity," transgender activist Raquel Willis tweeted after seeing Dwyane's interview. "@DwyaneWade + @itsgabrielleu continue to demonstrate phenomenal parenting with their love for Zaya!"

On Feb. 11, Gabrielle took to Twitter to thank fans for the support they've given the family as they've introduced Zaya to the world.

"We are humble LGBTQ+ allies with ALOT to learn & grateful for all the support," she tweeted. "We encourage yall to check us as needed. Again, thank you!"

The support in the responses to her tweet was overwhelming.

"I'm also the parent of a trans kid around Zaya's age, and it's beautiful to see her radiance and confidence and see your support," one person wrote, and then shared a publication her 13-year-old had made called "A Beginner's Guide to Being an Ally to LGBTQ+ people, friends, and family."

"Thank you for allowing your children to be who they are," another person wrote. "Our jobs as parents are to keep them safe and teach them right from wrong. Not to direct who they become. Y'all got it right."

On Feb. 12, the couple's support for Zaya continued, with Gabrielle sharing several tweets and a video clip that shows the girl driving a golf cart with Dwyane.

"Meet Zaya. She's compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her," Gabrielle wrote. 'It's ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people."

The short video features Zaya sharing her thoughts on living her best life.

"I would say, just be true to yourself – what's the point of being on this earth if you're going to try and be someone you're not... be true and don't really care what the stereotypical way of being you is," she says.

"Even when people are being mean, and when people are getting hurt because they're trying to be themselves and even through that you still want people to live their truth?" her father asks.

"I know it can get tough, but I think you push through and be the best you," she responds. "It's become more accepting... Even through hard times, you gotta push through, it's very worth it. When you look in the mirror and say 'hi' to yourself."

We're SO proud of you, Zaya!

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