Does Zaya Wade coming out reflect growth in our society?

The wade family. Photo courtesy @gabunion on Instagram

In the black community, there is a history of homophobic and transphobic tendencies that is an underlying issue within an overwhelming amount of mindsets. 

It is heartwarming that the Wade family was so welcoming towards their 12-year-old daughter Zaya Wade as she recently started using the pronouns she/her/hers.

Former Miami Heat basketball player Dwayne Wade revealed the news about his daughter in a recent interview on “The Ellen Degeneres Show.”

“So once Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home—first Zion, I don’t know if everyone knows, originally named Zion, born as a boy—came home and said, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth. I want to be referenced as ‘she’ and ‘her,’ I would love for you guys to call me Zaya,’” Wade said.

Wade added that he and his wife, Gabrielle Union, did their research about raising a transgender child which included Union reaching out to the cast of the FX show “Pose.”

“Once Zaya came home and said, ‘I want you to call me Zaya and I’m ready to take on this,’ I looked at her and said, ‘You are a leader. And this is our opportunity to allow you to be a voice,'” continued Wade. “Right now, it’s through us, because she’s 12 years old, but eventually, it will be through her.”

Union was equally supportive as she shared the news on Twitter with a loving caption to accompany the video clip.

“Meet Zaya,” Union said. “She’s compassionate, loving, whip-smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people.”

In the video, Wade is driving his daughter in a golf cart as she shares advice with those who are struggling with self-love and self-acceptance.

“What’s the point of being on this earth if you’re going to try to be someone you’re not,” Wade said. 

Her brother Zaire also shared a loving Instagram post dedicated to his sister.

“I don’t care what they think Z, you are my best friend and I love you kid, and if it means anything, just know there’s no love lost on this side,” Zaire said.

Every black child that identifies within the LGBTQ+ spectrum should be comfortable enough to come out of the closet. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many black trans youth are suicidal or victims of hate crimes.

According to The Trevor Project, crisis intervention for young LGBTQ+ individuals, one in five black trans youth have attempted suicide in the last year. Black transgender and non-binary youth are also twice as likely to attempt suicide in comparison to their cisgender black LGBTQ+ peers.

For transgender youths that do not have suicidal thoughts, they are still susceptible to depression, abusive family members, and homelessness.

The Wade family is an example of how a parent should unconditionally love their child, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.