Zaya Wade has had a very hard journey as she has navigated her transition over the past four years. The 16-year-old said in a recent interview that her dad Dwyane Wade “inspires me the most” after supporting her on this journey.

“My dad is who truly inspires me the most,” she told Harpers Bazaar for their Icons for 2023 issue. “Kids always tend to look up to their parents, but not only did I idolize him growing up and see him as a real person, I realize that he has played such an essential role in supporting me and the ways I choose to present myself to the world.”


The teen continued, “He’s been so supportive and my biggest advocate. He took the time and learned and grew. I want to have that same mentality going through anything in life.”

Zaya went on to say to the popular fashion magazine that, “Coming out is such a big change. It’s hard to navigate. We’ve all learned more about each other and the way we can coexist and grow together in this crazy world, especially in the public eye. It’s like a spotlight is always on you. At the end of the day though, we are a family, and we support and love each other and we are grateful.”

The LGBTQIA+ advocate came out as transgender publicly when she was 12-years-old. Wade and his ex-wife, Siovaughn Funches, battled in court in regards to allowing Zaya to change her name and gender. Ultimately, the case was resolved in the favor of Wade and his daughter. 

Taking the opportunity to champion Zaya and her community’s rights at the NAACP Image Awards, Wade said:

Zaya, as your father, all I’ve wanted to do is get it right. I’ve sat back and watched how gracefully you’ve taken on the public scrutiny. And even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of that house every morning as yourself. I admire how you’ve handled ignorance in our world. I admire it that you face every day. To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement.

As your father, my job isn’t to create a version of myself or direct your future. My role is to be a facilitator to your hopes, your wishes, your dreams.

Zaya, you’ve made me a better human by just simply being who you were born to be, our baby girl Zaya Wade. So baby, thank you for showing the world what courage looks like. I’m proud that I was chosen to stand in place as your father. And thank you so much to the NAACP for this incredible honor.

It is no wonder that Zaya calls her father her “biggest advocate.” Because truly, it appears as he is.


Photo Credit(s)/Featured Image: Zaya Wade Instagram

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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