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Dwyane Wade says he had to reevaluate himself as a parent when Zaya was scared to come out to him

The former basketball player said, 'I had to go look at myself in the mirror and ask why was my child scared to tell me something about herself.'

Dwyane Wade says he had to reevaluate himself as a parent when Zaya was scared to come out to him
Cover Image Source: Dwyane Wade attends a Special Los Angeles Screening Of Netflix's "The Redeem Team" at TUDUM Theater on September 22, 2022, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Dwyane Wade is rethinking how "masculinity" plays a role in his life as a parent. The former basketball player revealed that he had to reevaluate himself as a parent when his daughter Zaya was scared to come out to him as trans. Wade is also dad to Kaavia James, 4, Xavier Zechariah, 9, and Zaire, 21.


 
 
 
 
 
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His then-12-year-old daughter's demeanor had changed as she came out to him, which made him want to learn and grow and be a better parent to his child. The retired NBA star appeared in a candid discussion with fellow basketball player Chris Paul and executive Lisa Metelus at a Creative Artists Agency Amplify event in Ojai, California, NBC News reports. The three-time championship winner recalled how he and actress Gabrielle Union first learned that Zaya was part of the LGBTQ+ community back in 2016 while the family was living in his hometown of Chicago. Zaya had first described herself as gay in a school assignment when she was 8 years old.

Image Source: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union attend the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023, in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
Image Source: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union attend the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023, in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Zaya found it easier to talk about it because of an openly gay teacher who created the assignment. However, she was hesitant to talk to her own father. "I came home and I just remember my daughter—my child—being scared to talk to me, like hiding in my wife's arm in the chair," he recalled, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I think I'm just the dad that's like, 'Hey, come and tell me anything. I'm a cool dad.'"



 

The fear in his child's face made him question everything. "Because maybe I ain't what I think I am. I haven't done what I think," he said. "That first moment of seeing that—and I was having a conversation yesterday, talking about this—I had to go look at myself in the mirror and ask why was my child scared to tell me something about herself."



 

Wade had to put in the work to be open to learning more while becoming an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. Listening to both his daughters' experiences and expert opinions made all the difference. "In a lot of work as parents—and as people—what we do is we put our fears and everything on our kids. And I guess I was doing that," he said. "So I had to go look myself in the mirror and ask myself... What is it about my masculinity that has my child afraid?" According to NBC News, the father of four had to navigate through harsh public opinions since Zaya came out publicly, noting, "The world went crazy. I think the hardest part about it is shutting out the world and shutting out the people that really are not in the circle, but that have opinions.”


 
 
 
 
 
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The family struggled with the public's "miseducation" of what it is to be trans. As for Zaya Wade, she is now a model and LGBTQ+ advocate. She previously told PEOPLE that living her truth has improved her relationships. "I can be truthful and honest with myself and therefore truthful and honest with other people. That helps better everyone's connections and relationships with each other," she said.


 
 
 
 
 
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