During Tuesday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” former NBA star Dwyane Wade discussed the gender transition of his 12-year-old child Zion Malachi Airamis, who is biologically male but now “identifies” as female.
Wade said preteen Zion, who now goes by Zaya, is a “leader” in the LGBTQ+ community, and noted that he and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, are also “proud” allies of the community.
Host Ellen DeGeneres, to massive applause, praised Wade for being a “loving and supportive” father to Zaya.
“We are proud, when I say proud, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we are proud allies, as well,” responded Wade.
The former Miami Heat guard said he and Union take their role as parents “very seriously.”
“When Zaya, 12 years old, came home,” explained Wade, noting that Zion “was born as a boy,” the child told he and Union that he wanted to “live his truth.”
“I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth,” Wade recalled his son telling him at age 12. “I wanna be referenced as ‘she’ and ‘her’ and I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.”
“We wanted to give our child the best opportunity to be her best self,” added Wade.
In December, Wade made similar comments about his child. “I watched my son, from day one, become into who she now eventually come into,” he told the “All the Smoke” podcast.
“And for me … nothing changes in my love. Nothing changes in my responsibilities. So, all I had to do now is get smarter educate myself more. And that’s my job,” he continued, noting, “You want to talk about strength and courage, my 12-year-old has way more than I have. You can learn something from your kids.”
“Me and my wife are having conversations about, you know, us noticing that, you know, [Zion] wasn’t on the boy vibe that Zaire was on,” Wade said. “And I had to look myself in the mirror and say, ‘What if your son comes home and tell you he’s gay? What are you going to do? How are you going to be? How are you going to act?’ It ain’t about him. He knows who he is. It’s about you. Who are you?”
“This is the new normal,” the former NBA star contended. “So, if anybody different, we’re looked at as different. The ones that don’t understand it. The ones that don’t get it. The ones that get stuck in the box, you know, they’re different. Not the people out here living their lives.”
In November, after a Thanksgiving family photo was posted to social media, wherein the young boy was sporting long, colored, manicured nails and a crop top, Wade responded via social media.
“I’ve seen some post-thanksgiving hate on social about my family photo,” he posted. “Stupidity is apart of this world we live in — so i get it. But here’s the thing — I’ve been chosen to lead my family not y’all. So we will continue to be us and support each other with pride, love & a smile!”