Image Source: Getty / Jemal Countess
Dwyane Wade is opening up about fearing for his daughter’s safety “every moment she leaves the house,” the NBA star revealed in a new interview at the Time100 Summit on June 7. “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,” Wade said.
Wade’s 15-year-old daughter Zaya, whom he shares with Gabrielle Union, came out as transgender in 2020. The couple have steadfastly supported their daughter throughout her journey. “Unconditional love, simply put, is love without strings attached. It’s love you offer freely,” Wade wrote in an Instagram post that same year, and he’s continued to show unconditional love and support for his daughter over the years.
In the Time100 interview, Wade addressed his fears about Zaya’s personal safety, as well as his grief at efforts to deny gender-affirming healthcare to trans youth and block trans youth from participating in sports on teams that match their gender identity. Prior to 2020, no states had introduced efforts to ban trans youth from accessing gender-affirming healthcare, but in 2021, 22 states introduced barriers to healthcare for trans youth, including 13 states that would implement criminal penalties for those who attempt to access gender-affirming medical care. This has jeopardized roughly 58,000 trans youth, despite research showing that healthcare improves mental health and well-being for trans youth, already an extremely at-risk demographic.
“To me, it’s a joke. This is our life. We live this,” Wade said. “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.” He encouraged lawmakers and advocates to educate themselves about the LGBTQ+ community before making final decisions on laws like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prevents public schools from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity. He expressed fears that these laws are consequences of losing “the human side of us.” Wade also shared openness to running for office someday, saying, “I don’t know. I won’t say no.”