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Dwyane Wade’s child being transgender is none of our business

Dwyane Wade’s child being transgender is none of our business

Dwyane Wade’s child being transgender is none of our business
March 17
13:37 2020

In a recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres, former basketball star Dwyane Wade got candid about his 12-year-old child coming out as transgender and now using she/her pronouns and going by the name “Zaya.” Wade made it known that he and his wife Gabrielle Union unconditionally support their daughter’s social transition despite the loud opinions of outsiders.

“We are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and we’re proud allies as well. And we take our roles and our responsibilities as parents very seriously,” Wade told DeGeneres. “Zion, born as a boy, came home and said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I am ready to live my truth. I want to be referenced as ‘she’ and ‘her.’ I would love for you guys to call me ‘Zaya.’” Wade expressed that it is his responsibility as a parent to not only support but also research more about his daughter’s transition and make her feel as comfortable and loved as possible.

Following the announcement, Zaya received a warm welcome from many in the LGBTQ+ community and loving support from allies. The morning of the Ellen DeGeneres interview, Union shared a video on Twitter with a caption that read: “Meet Zaya. She’s compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are.” Union’s public support of Zaya speaks volumes and is the perfect example of the love black LGBTQ+ children need from their parents.

Vanessa Clark, a transgender, queer author is among those who embraced Zaya and praised her parent’s support. “Many black trans people like myself have long hoped for the day when black athletes, with their platform and influence on the black community openly accept their trans child,” Clark wrote in an essay for Vox.

Although Zaya was welcomed by some, many were immediate in their harsh judgment and quick to hurl hatefulness toward her and her parents. Following the announcement, many celebrities displayed severe criticism towards Zaya’s decision and Wade and Union’s parenting. In an Instagram video, Rapper Boosie Badazz misgendered Zaya and implied that she was too young to have made such a decision. “That is a male,” the rapper said. “A 12-year-old. At 12, they don’t even know what they next meal is gonna be…If he gonna be gay, let him be gay. Don’t dress him as a woman, dawg…Don’t cut his f—ing d–k off.”

Most individuals who are bashing Zaya and her parents have cited her age to be the reason for their criticism. They say that she’s too young to be able to make such a life-changing decision. Many who have criticized her are misinformed and assume that transgender children are subject to surgical gender reassignment as they come out. However, Wade and Union have yet to publicly announce that Zaya has done so or desires to medically transition. Gender reassignment surgery is often not done until an individual has reached adulthood according to an article by health care company, Aetna. Doctors do not push transgender children to make permanent changes to their physical bodies and do not suggest hormone replacement therapy to prepubescent children, according to an article by Live Science.

One twitter user even compared Zaya’s gender identity to R.Kelly’s many sexual abuse claims. “If Dwyane Wade son knows what he wants at 12 years old, free R. Kelly,” the user wrote. The insanely ignorant comments of these grown men are outlandish and have truly baffled me.

Why does the gender of a 12-year-old child seem to be their number one concern? Grown men have justified their bullying of the young child by hiding behind their claims that what they are saying is their “opinion.” The discussion of one’s identity is not a matter of opinion. You do not get to simply disagree with a person’s identity just because it makes you uncomfortable. Transphobia is not an opinion.

Roughly 80 percent of black LGBTQ youth suffer from depression due to the lack of support they receive from those around them, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 Black and African American LGBTQ Youth Report. About half of all black transgender individuals have attempted suicide, according to the LGBTQ Task Force. Wade and Union’s mission to make Zaya feel loved through this change in her life is very inspirational and is very needed in order to combat further torment and distress amongst the black LGBTQ youth.

Despite some atrocious words barked at them, Zaya’s coming out and Wade and Union support for her is very significant, especially in regards to black LGBTQ+ youth. I praise Zaya for her courage to come out and I commend her parents for their strong public support. “I know it can get tough definitely,” Zaya said to her father when asked about the transition in a recent video shared by Union. “But I think you push through and you be the best you.”

Wade and Union embracing Zaya proves how impactful parents are in the lives of their LGBTQ children. My hope is that Zaya continues to be strong despite what the world has to say about her gender identity.

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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Michelle Monari

Michelle Monari

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