Dwyane Wade admits he struggled when deciding whether to share his daughter Zaya’s trans journey publicly.
Sitting down with Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, the NBA star talked about his new documentary “D.Wade: Life Unexpected”, in which his 12-year-old daughter is heavily featured.
“I struggled on how much I wanted to talk about it in the doc,” Wade told Roberts. “I actually didn’t talk about it a lot, but I knew if I put it in the doc at all, it would be a big conversation…We struggled with what people would say about a 12-year-old making a decision about her life. But we also know our child.”
After a family discussion, though, they all decided that it would be best to share Zaya’s journey publicly to help educate people about the transgender experience.
“We’ve been through so many different things that other people and other families go through and they thank us for speaking out on it,” Wade said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We know there are other families out there dealing with their kid finding themselves and learning who they are.”
Wade also talked about Zaya’s nine-year journey — since she was three years old — in trying to figure out her true identity.
“Zaya, early on, knew two things: She knew straight and she knew gay,” the basketball player explained. “But Zaya started doing more research. She is the one who sat down with us, as a family, and said, ‘Hey, I don’t think I’m gay.’ She went down a list and said, ‘This is how I identify myself. This is my gender identity. I identify myself as a young lady. I identify as straight trans because I like boys.'”
He continued, “It was a process for us to sit down with our daughter and find out who she is and what she likes and not put something on her because, as parents, we put our hopes and we put our fears on our kids. With Zaya, we decided to listen to her and she’s leading us on this journey.”
Wade admitted that the whole thing has been a real learning experience for him too, over the years.
“I knew early on that I had to check myself,” he said. “I knew early on that I had to ask myself questions. I’ve been a person in the locker room that has been a part of the conversation that has said the wrong phrases and the wrong words. As I got older and as I watched my daughter grow, I had to go look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘Who are you? What are you going to do if your child comes home and says, Dad, I’m not a boy? That I’m a gay boy or that I’m a trans girl. What are you going to do?'”
He added, “My daughter was my first interaction when it comes with having to deal with this conversation. Hopefully, I’m dealing with it the right way. Some people think I’m not but, inside our home, we see the smile on our daughter’s face. We see the confidence that she’s able to walk around and be herself and that’s when you know you’re doing it right.”