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Dwyane Wade is ‘afraid’ for trans daughter Zaya’s safety ‘every moment’ she leaves the house

“Come and live a day in my world with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her,” the NBA great said.
/ Source: TODAY

Dwyane Wade says he is constantly worried about his 15-year-old transgender daughter, Zaya, as more states enact anti-trans laws.

“To me, it’s a joke,” he told CNN’s Poppy Harlow at the TIME100 Summit Tuesday in New York City.

“This is our life. We live this and so when you’re out there making rules, and if you’re not experiencing this and you’re not living this and you’re just out there signing away and making laws, that’s not right. That’s a joke. Come and live a day in my world with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.

Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade, and Gabrielle Union
Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade and Gabrielle Union arrive at Gucci Love Parade on Nov. 2, 2021, in Los Angeles.Rich Fury / Getty Images

“We’re losing the human side of us. And as sad as it is, as blessed as my daughter is to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves the house. And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way that people perceive her in this world.”

The 13-time NBA All-Star said we live in an age when people can find information easily online, which he thinks is a good way to start a dialogue.

“Our kids can go find all this (data), but then it’s like, ‘Hey, don’t talk about this in school. Don’t do this in school. Don’t do it,’” he said. “Why are we not talking about it? Why are we not educating our kids? Why are we not educating ourselves, instead of trying to close the book on it?

“You can’t close the book on what somebody (wants) and how they feel they are. We’re not going to close the book on anyone being gay, bisexual, transgender. We can’t close the book on that. I personally don’t understand, Poppy.”

Wade has said Zaya came out as transgender when she was 12.

“Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home … and said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward, I’m ready to live my truth,’” Wade told Ellen DeGeneres in 2020. “I want to be referenced as she and her. I’d love for you guys to call me Zaya.’”

After Zaya first approached him, Wade said he made it a mission to support her.

“If I don’t know something in this life, especially if it comes from my children, then it’s my job to go and learn these things,” he said in an Instagram Live with TODAY contributor Jill Martin last year.

Zaya, meanwhile, says she remains true to herself.

“Being my full authentic self feels like freedom,” Zaya said in a recent preview clip of the annual Logo30 series, which shines a light on various entertainers and activists. “Being out and open and truthful about who I am to myself and others is just freeing. It’s a beautiful feeling to have and hold and to be able to share with the rest of the world.”

Zaya’s stepmother and Wade’s wife, Gabrielle Union, says she and Wade made supporting her a priority.

“It’s important for us to live and love out loud,” she told BuzzFeed in March. “We didn’t exactly understand why (supporting Zaya’s trans identity) was a thing because it’s like, we love all our kids out loud. But it is a thing and a lot of people do need an example. (People) do need that (kind of) representation.”