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Dwyane Wade Gets Candid About Embracing His 12-Year-Old Child's Gender Identity

"We are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community..."

Retired NBA athlete Dwyane Wade sat down with Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show this week to promote his upcoming ESPN documentary, D. Wade: Life Unexpected, but things got personal when he brought up his gender nonconforming 12-year-old child and her coming-out journey.

“First of all, me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re proud allies as well," Wade told DeGeneres, adding that the couple "[takes] our roles and responsibilities as parents very seriously."

Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 09: (L-R) Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade attend the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

"So, when our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can, and that doesn’t change because sexuality [and gender] is involved in it."

Wade specifically referenced Zaya (formerly known as Zion), who recently told her parents, "I want to talk to you guys. Going forward, I'm ready to live my truth, and I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you to call me Zaya."

The basketball star then said that he and Union contacted "every relationship that we have" to get more information.

"My wife reached out to everyone on the cast of Pose. We just tried to figure out as much information as we can to help our child be her best self," he explained.

"Once Zion said, 'You can call me Zaya,' I looked at her and said, 'You are a leader,'” Wade continued. “It’s our opportunity to allow you to be a voice. Right now, it’s through us because she’s 12 years old, but eventually, it will be through her.”

Watch Wade's full conversation with DeGeneres, including details about his work with GLSEN, in the clip below.

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