Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade Model Supportive Parenting of Their Transgender Child

Supermajority Education Fund

February 19, 2020

Last week, former NBA star Dwayne Wade shared that his 12-year-old child, Zaya, is transgender on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He told the audience about how he and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, are supporting Zaya. 

“Me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we are proud allies as well,” Wade told DeGeneres. “We take our roles and responsibility as parents very seriously. So when our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information we can, the best feedback we can. And that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”

Following Wade’s interview on Ellen, Union shared a video on Twitter of Zaya and Wade talking about the power of being yourself.

“What’s the point of living on this earth if you’re gonna try to be someone you’re not?” Zaya, who was driving a golf cart while talking to her dad in the passenger seat, said. “It’s like, you’re not even living as yourself; it’s just, like, the dumbest concept to me.”

Her dad responded: “Even when people are being mean and even when people are getting hurt because they’re trying to be themselves? Even through that? You still want people to make sure that they live their truth?” 

“Yeah,” Zaya answered. “I know it can get tough, definitely, but I think you push through, and you be the best you.

Following her initial tweet, Union wrote a thank you to fans and allies who had sent her messages of encouragement for her family. 

“We are humble LGBTQ+ allies with ALOT to learn & grateful for all the support,” Union wrote. “We encourage y’all to check us as needed. Again, thank you!”

A 2016 statewide Minnesota survey looking at students between ninth and eleventh grades found that three percent of students at these ages identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming. Dr. Alexis Chavez, medical director for The Trevor Project, told Supermajority News that research has proven that transgender youth with supportive parents have a 52 percent decrease in suicidal thoughts, a 48 percent decrease in suicidal attempts, and increases in self-esteem and general health. 

“It is heartwarming to see more parents taking steps to learn more about gender identity and to encourage their children to express themselves in whatever way feels most true to them,” she said. “Affirming a young person’s identity is essential to their health and wellbeing. At The Trevor Project, we constantly hear from transgender youth in crisis who want nothing more than to be recognized for who they are.”