Raising a transgender child can be a learning process for many adults. Dwyane Wade, former basketball star of the Miami Heat and father to daughter Zaya Wade, who came out as transgender when she was 12, is now offering advice to new parents of trans children.
“[Think of] the moment when you were in the hospital and you grabbed your daughter, and you looked at your daughter,” Wade told Variety on the Met Gala red carpet on Monday night. “All the things that went through your mind and all the emotions that went through your mind. And how much love fills your heart at that moment. Don’t let that ever leave you, no matter what.”
He added, “The one thing we do as parents is we find our mini-mes and we try to make them just like us. But just understand, our kids are gonna be who they are. It’s our job to help mold them and help try to push them in the right places that they want to go, but just remember that moment, what you said in that hospital the day that they were born.”
Zaya is now a notable young figure in the LGBTQ community. Her father and stepmother, actor Gabrielle Union, have been extremely supportive of her. In addition to Zaya, who is now 14, Wade is a father to two sons, Zaire and Xavier, and a daughter, Kaavia. He also helped raise his nephew, Dahveon Morris.
When asked what keeps him going in his fight for Zaya, Wade said, “It’s just being a father. Doing what you’re supposed to do as a parent is to make sure that you sit back and you see what it is in life that they want to do. And you try to go there with them and try to help mold them into what it is they want to be, and who they want to be. We’re just doing our part as parents. We love our kids.”
Union added, “And we believe them when they tell us who they are.”