Former NBA player Dwyane Wade said that his daughter Zaya knew that she was a girl as young as age three.
Speaking with Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts about his soon-to-be-released documentary D. Wade: Life Unexpected, Wade explained how Zaya came to understand her identity and then explained it to him and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union.
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“Zaya, early on, knew two things: she knew ‘straight’ and she knew ‘gay,’” he said. “But Zaya started doing more research.”
She came back to her parents and said that she didn’t think that she was gay because she is a girl who’s attracted to boys. “She went down the list and said, ‘This is how I identify myself. This is my gender identity.’”
Later in the interview, Wade discussed criticism he has gotten for accepting his 12-year-old transgender daughter and said that Zaya has known her identity since she was three.
“Zaya has known it for nine years, since she was three-years-old,” Wade said.
“She’s known since she was three?” Roberts asked. Wade confirmed that’s what he said.
Roberts then asked if he knew.
“I learned early on that I had to check myself,” he said. “I’ve been a person in the locker room that has been a part of the conversation that have said the wrong phrases and the wrong words myself.”
“And as I got older and I watched my daughter grow, I had to go look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘Who are you? What are you going to do with your child come home and say that I’m not a boy, or that I’m a gay boy, or that I’m a trans girl. What are you going to do?'”
He added that he never had a teammate come out to him as gay or trans and his daughter is the first LGBTQ person he has been close with.
“It was a process for us to sit down with our daughter and find out who she is and what she likes and not put something on her,” he said.