"Known It For Nine Years"

Dwyane Wade did not initially want to share Zaya Wade’s gender identity story with the world. The former NBA player tells Good Morning America why he was reluctant to talk about his daughter’s journey in his forthcoming ESPN documentary, D. Wade: Life Unexpected.

“I struggled on how much I wanted to talk about it in the doc,” Dwyane admits. “I actually did talk about it a lot, but I knew if I put it in the doc at all it would be a big conversation,” the celebrity father says.


Dwyane Wade introduced his daughter, who was born a boy, to the world during his recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres. The celebrity father told the talk show host that Zaya came to him with her new name.

“Zion, born as a boy, came home and said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forth, I’m ready to live my truth. And I want to be referenced as ‘she’ and ‘her.’ I would love [it] if you guys would call me Zaya,” Dwyane said. The celebrity father and his wife, Gabrielle Union, have honored Zaya’s wishes ever since.

Many praise Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union for supporting Zaya on her journey. The celebrity father tells Good Morning America, though, that it is Zaya who leads the way.

“She is our leader,” Dwyane reveals. “[She has] known it for nine years since she was 3 years old,” the celebrity father adds. “Zaya started doing more research. She was the one that sat down with us as a family and said, ‘Hey I don’t think I’m gay.’ And she went down the list and said this is how I identify myself — I identify myself as a young lady. I think I’m a straight trans because I like boys.”

Wade further explains, “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 — we decided to listen to her and she’s leading us on this journey.”

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union parent four children together. Stay tuned for more celebrity family news, and catch Dwyane Wade’s documentary, D. Wade: Life Unexpected, on ESPN this Sunday (February 23).

Photo: Getty Images



Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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