Dwyane Wade was rather hesitant to share Zaya Wade’s gender identity story with the world, as the former Miami Heat star told 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.
He also stated that Zaya Wade knew that she was transgender at the age of 3-years-old.
“She’s known it for nine years. She’s known since she was 3 years old,” Wade, 38, said. “Along this way we’ve asked questions and we’ve learned. But she’s known.”
Asked how long he’s known, Wade said that he was keenly conscious in the beginning of one thing and one thing only: that he needed to confront some of his own biases and open himself up to his child’s feelings.
“I knew early on that I had to check myself,” he explained. “That’s what I knew. I knew early on that I had to ask myself questions.”
The basketball legend admitted that he “has said the wrong phrases and the wrong words” in the past during locker-room banter.
“I’ve been a person in a locker room that has been a part of the conversation that has said the wrong phrases and the wrong words myself,” Wade continued. “As I got older and I watched my daughter grow, I had to go and look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘Who are you? What are you going to do if your child comes home and says, “Dad, I’m not a boy … I’m a trans girl.” What are you going to do?’ That was my moment of real.”
Wade added that Zaya came to him one day and said, “‘Hey, I don’t think I’m gay,’ and she went down the list and said, ‘This is how I identify myself, this is my gender identity. I identify myself as a young lady. I think I’m a straight trans [girl] because I like boys.’”