As a parent of a teenager, Dwyane Wade, 40, has a lot on his mind. The basketball player husband of Gabrielle Union admitted he has plenty of worries transgender daughter Zaya’s safety and well-being as he opened up ahead of the TIME100 summit in New York on Tuesday, June 7.
The athlete told CNN, “As blessed as it is for my daughter to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves the house. And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world.”
He also challenged anti-trans politicians and critics by asking them to spend a day in Zaya’s shoes. “To me, it’s a joke,” he said. “This is our life. We live this. When you’re out there making rules, if you’re not experiencing this. Come and live a day with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.”
The Miami Heat alum praised his daughter for how she’s helped him be more confident. He explained “I went years without telling my chef that I don’t like cilantro on my burger, as an adult, it took me years to have the confidence to say that. My daughter, at 8 years old, had the confidence to say, ‘This is who I am. This is who I want to be.'”
Dwyane is also father to Zaire, 20 (whom he shares with Siohvaughn Funches, also Zaya’s mother), Xavier, 8 (whom he shares with Basketball Wives alum Aja Metoyer) and daughter Kaavia, 3, (whom he shares with wife Gabi).
The athlete shared Zaya’s gender identity during a Feb. 2020 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, saying, “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. We take our roles and our responsibilities as parents very seriously.” He added, “It’s our job as parents to listen [to our children]” and “give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can. And that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”