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Dwyane Wade says trans daughter Zaya knew gender identity since she was 3 years old

"It was a process for us to sit down with our daughter and find out what she likes and who she is," Wade said.
Dwyane Wade with his family
Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat with his wife, Gabrielle Union, nephew, Dahveon Morris, and children, Kaavia James Union Wade, Zaire Wade, Xavier Wade and Zaya Wade after his final career home game in Miami on April 9, 2019 .Michael Reaves / Getty Images file

Zaya Wade knew since she was 3 years old that she was transgender, her father Dwyane Wade revealed while crediting his daughter with educating their family on what it means to be trans.

"Zaya has known it for nine years," the retired NBA star told Robin Roberts Tuesday on "Good Morning America."

When asked if he knew early on that Zaya, who was assigned male at birth, identified as a transgender girl, Wade responded: "I knew early on that I had to check myself. ... I've been a person in the locker room that has been a part of the conversation that has said the wrong phrases and the wrong words myself."

Wade, 38, said he had to do a lot of self-reflecting to understand how to support his daughter.

"My daughter was my first interaction when it comes to having to deal with this conversation," he explained. "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."

Wade told Roberts that Zaya has been his family's "leader" when it comes to educating them on the transgender community.

"Zaya knew two things: she knew straight and she knew gay. But Zaya started doing more research. She was the one who sat down with us as a family and said, 'Hey, I don't think I'm gay.' And she went down the list and said, 'This is how I identify myself. This is my gender identity. I identify myself as a young lady,'" he said.

"It was a process for us to sit down with our daughter and find out what she likes and who she is," Wade continued.

The former basketball player said he loves that his daughter does not have to hide who she is.

"She's leading us along this journey," he said.

During a recent appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Wade said he and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, were "proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community."

"We're just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be, you know, her best self," Wade added.

Shortly after a clip of the interview went viral, Union shared a video on her Twitter and Instagram accounts praising Zaya.

"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. Love and light good people," she captioned a video of Zaya and her father riding in a golf cart.