Dwyane Wade says he’s ‘afraid’ for trans daughter Zaya’s safety every time she leaves the house

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 (Getty Images for TIME)
(Getty Images for TIME)

Dwyane Wade has spoken candidly about his 15-year-old trans daughter, Zaya, and how he feels “afraid” for her, throughout “every moment” that she leaves the house.

The former NBA star discussed how concerned he is for his daughter, as more states in America have continued to enforce anti-trans laws, during the Time100 Summit, acknowledging how he thinks these rules are “a joke”.

“This is our life. We live this,” the 40-year-old father said. “When you’re out there making rules, and if you’re not experiencing this, if you’re not living this, and you’re just out there signing away and making laws, that’s not right. It’s a joke.”

“Come and live a day in my world with my daughter,” he added. “Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.”

According to Freedom for All Americans, a campaign that aims to enforce nondiscriminatory protection for LGBTQ + people nationwide, trans athlete bans are currently being considered for almost 20 states. For example, earlier this week, Louisiana banned transgender women from participating in women’s sports teams.

Wade went on to note that he not only feels like people are “losing the human sides” of themselves, but he’s also worried about Zaya’s safety anytime she leaves their home.

“And as sad as it is, as blessed as my daughter is to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves the house,” he said. “And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way that people perceive her in this world.”

The former basketball player expressed that while children have easy access to the internet to learn about anything they want, there can be a bit of a double standard, as there are certain things they can’t do or say in schools.

“Our kids can go find all this [data], but then it’s like, ‘Hey, don’t talk about this in school. Don’t do this in school. Don’t do it,’” he explained “Why are we not talking about it? Why are we not educating our kids? Why are we not educating ourselves, instead of trying to close the book on it?

He went on to detail how lawmakers and parents should learn more about the LGBTQ + community before “closing the book on it” with specific rules, such as Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which resticts public school distrctis from teaching certain grade levels about sexual orientation and gender issues.

“You can’t close the book on what somebody wants and how they feel they are,” Wade concluded. “We’re not going to close the book on anyone being gay, bisexual, transgender. We can’t close the book on that. I personally don’t understand.”

Wade is the father of four, as he shares Zaya and Zaire, 20, with his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches. He also shares an eight-year-old son, Xavier, with model Aja Metoyer, and a three-year-old daughter, Kaavia, with his wife, Gabrielle Union.

The former athlete has previously opened up about his relationship with Zaya, detailing how she came out as trasngender when she was 12-year-old.

While appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in February 2020, Wade recalled how Zaya’s transition shaped him as a father. According to Wade, when Zaya, originally named Zion, came home and asked to be referred to as she and her, he and Union set out to learn more about the LGBTQ + community, in order to support their child.

“That was our job, to go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have. My wife reached out to everybody on the cast of Pose,” he said, referring to a series that focuses on ball culture in New York City throughout the 1980s.

“We just tried to figure out as much information as we can to make sure we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self,” he added.