The retired NBA superstar, his wife, and son have handled his middle child’s identity journey admirably.
You or your belief system may not agree with the idea of gender reassignment, identifying oneself as someone other than who anatomy says you are, or anything involving the LGBTQ community for that matter; but I suspect that most of us have a similar outlook on what family should be.
Even if it was not our reality, family represents shelter and support in most of our minds. It should be a refuge from the cruelties of this world and the epitome of unconditional love — even in the absence of understanding.
This is what Dwyane, Zaire, and Gabrielle Union-Wade have demonstrated over and over again throughout the journey of Dwyane’s middle child, who was born Zion but now wishes to be referred to as Zaya and with the pronouns, she/her. What I adore most about their approach is that they are loving this kid OUT LOUD.
The Wades aren’t being supportive behind closed doors but pretending Zaya doesn’t exist when out in public. They’re not hiding her from the cameras. They’re telling the world that this is my child/sibling and though the person I once knew has changed a bit, I love them just the same.
I’m so happy for this young person who gets to be free, championed, and protected — when so many others are silenced and ostracized from their families in the wake of similar revelations. So often we try to tell our children who to be instead of letting them tell us who they are. The Wades have nailed that aspect masterfully.
If only our greatest emphasis was placed on raising kind humans. What a world this would be.
Dwyane, Gabrielle, and Zaire have each penned beautiful words of not just acceptance, but prideful adoration and steadfast support throughout Zaya’s journey. None of them has wavered in the face of ridicule. Older brother Zaire even reiterates that his sibling has been his “best friend,” and that will not change.
The family’s most recent outpouring of support came once Zaya was introduced to the world with father in tow via Instagram: