Over the last year, Dwyane Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union have been out and open about supporting Wade’s now-12 year-old child, Zion, as she grows into herself and lives life as she sees fit.
And now we’ve learned, according to the retired NBA star, “she” is exactly the right word for Zion.
On the Showtime podcast “All The Smoke,” the former point guard for the Miami Heat spoke about his close relationship with his child, who he still calls his son, but now refers to with she/her pronouns.
In the interview, Wade talks about realizing that when Zion was as young as 3 that she “wasn’t on the boy vibe” like her older brother, Zaire. And he spoke about doing the work, on his own prejudices and fears, after realizing his child was not the one with a problem.
“I had to look myself in the mirror and say, ‘What if your son come home and tell you he’s gay? What are you going to do? How are you going to be? How are you going to act?’ It ain’t about him. He knows who he is. It’s about you. Who are you? All these people that’s out there saying these things, look at yourself. Understand that you’re the one that’s got the issues. You’re the one that’s got the problem.”
Wade specifically addressed what he called “the new normal,” and how he believes the focus should not be on those who come out as LGBTQ, but those who cannot embrace that difference.
”If anybody is different, we’re looked at as different; the ones who don’t understand it,” he said. “The ones that don’t get it and are stuck in a box, you’re different. Not the people that are out there living their lives.”
Transcription by Outsports:
“Well, first of all, you want to talk about strength and courage? My 12-year-old has way more than I have. You can learn something from your kids. In our household, that’s all we talk about; we talk about making sure our kids are seen by each of us. Me and my wife, we talk about making sure our kids understand the power in their voice. We want them to be whoever they feel they can be in this world. That’s our goal: Understand you can be whoever, you can be whatever.
“Now, there’s some things that, while you’re trying to go down that process, these are some things that are going to come at you. There’s going to be negativity, it’s going to be a lot of hate. It’s not even just from my son’s sexuality, it’s just about being a young Black man and everything that comes with that.
“When I respond to things socially, I’m not responding because you’re hurting my feelings. I’m not responding because I care about what you’re saying, because as we say in the in the hood it’s ‘ignant.’ Why I’m responding is because I understand my platform. I understand that I’m speaking for a lot of people don’t have the same voice that I have. As a father, I’m even speaking for my 12-year-old because I haven’t allowed them to sit in front of a microphone yet. But I’m speaking for so many others in the LGBTQ+ community. For me it’s just my version of supporting.
“I had to look myself in the mirror when my son, at the time, was 3 years old and me and my wife were having conversations about us noticing that he wasn’t on the boy vibe that Zaire was on. So I had to look myself in the mirror and say ‘what are you going to do if your son comes home and tell you he’s gay? What are you going to do? How are you going to be? How are you going to act? It ain’t about him. He knows who he is, it’s about you. Who are you?’
“So all the people who are out there saying those things, look at yourself. Understand that you you’re the one that got the issues. You’re the one that got the problem; it’s not the kids. It’s not that you decided that they were born a certain way and they have to be that way... that’s not life, man. I watched my son from day one become into who she, now, eventually, has come into.
“For me it’s all about, nothing changes with my love. Nothing changes with my responsibilities. Only thing I have to do now is get smarter and educate myself more, and that’s my job.”