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Dwyane Wade takes heartfelt stand against anti-trans laws

The NBA legend continues to show what it means to be a straight ally.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat
Dwayne Wade continues to show he’s a great dad.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Dwyane Wade is an all-time great basketball player with a giant social media following. And increasingly, he’s using that platform to stand up for his trans daughter.

It is awesome to see.

On Tuesday, Wade offered his take on the wave of bigoted anti-trans legislation that’s sweeping the nation. He shared the now-viral speech from Missouri father Brandon Boulware, who urged Missouri legislators to reject a bill that would ban his trans daughter from playing sports. Missouri is one of 20 states considering restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for transgender kids.

Last week, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves signed a trans sports ban into law, and Arkansas and South Dakota recently passed similar bills.

At the start of his speech, Boulware told the lawmakers he also didn’t understand transgender issues at first, and prohibited his daughter from wearing girls’ clothes and being her true self. The end result, he said, was a child who never smiled. The turning point came when his daughter said she would change into boys’ clothes if he allowed her to go over a neighbor’s house.

“It was then that it hit me. My daughter was equating being good with being someone else,” he said. “I was teaching her to deny who she is. As a parent, the one thing we cannot do, the one thing, is silence our child’s spirit

Wade posted Boulware’s speech on Instagram, with a caption of his own.

“I vote AGAINST this legislation! I don’t know Brandon Boulware at all but I do know we have something real in common,” he wrote. “Here’s the one thing we can’t do ‘ SILENCE OUR CHILD’S SPIRIT’ Thank you for using your platform and sharing your family’s story! ‘Our kids are more than bedrooms, bathrooms and locker rooms.’”

Wade says his daughter, Zaya, knew her true gender identity when she was three years old. He credits her with teaching him and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, what it means to be trans.

Zaya Wade publicly came out as transgender at 12 years old.

“My daughter was my first interaction when it comes to having to deal with this conversation,” Wade told NBC News. “Hopefully I’m dealing with it the right way. Inside our home we see the smile on my daughter’s face, we see the confidence that she’s able to walk around and be herself and that’s when you know you’re doing right.”

Two years ago, Wade shared photos of his family’s attendance at Miami Pride, and has also talked about the importance of using proper pronouns. He’s been a vocal ally of the LGBTQ community every step of the way, including last summer, when he defended Zaya from atavistic Twitter trolls.

As our Cyd Zeigler once wrote, Wade is America’s Dad for our time. If only some of the shameful legislators across this country possessed his empathy and grace.