Retired NBA superstar and philanthropist Dwyane Wade spoke emotionally about his fears for his 15-year-old transgender daughter Zaya at the TIME100 Summit Tuesday—as states across the country move to restrict the rights of trans youth.
Dwyane Wade is his daughter’s biggest supporter.
In 2020, Dwyane appeared on The Ellen Show and revealed, Zaya Wade’s truth. Zaya who was born a male, named, Zion, decided at 12-years-old, to come out as transgender.
As reported on TIME, Dwyane recently spoke at the TIME100 Summit that took place on June 7 in New York City. The retired NBA legend told CNN’s, Poppy Harlow, “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.”
He continued, “And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world.”
Dwayne also spoke on why he needed to support his baby girl and how it taught him a valuable lesson in parenting. A situation in his life inspired him to speak up for himself, which he was ultimately motivated to do because of Zaya. Dwayne said,
“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.” He continued, “My daughter, at eight years old, had the confidence to say ‘This is who I am. This is who I want to be.”
When Dwyane spoke to the publication, he also urged parents and lawmakers to learn more about the LGBTQ community. He also criticized political leaders that deny access to gender-affirming medical care for trans youth and block trans athletes from competing in sports.
“To me, it’s a joke. This is our life. We live this. When you’re out there making rules, if you’re not experiencing this,” he said. “Come and live a day with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.”