NBA great Dwyane Wade says he made a conscious decision to turn off the comments on daughter Zaya’s social media accounts.
Zaya, 15, came out as transgender in 2019 at the age of 12 and Wade says he and wife Gabrielle Union, who is Zaya’s stepmother, learned from his older child, Zaire.
“Well, we have a 20-year-old, Zaire, who went through it a few years before Zaya, of jumping on social media and all of the negativity that comes with social media and the comments,” he told the 3rd hour of TODAY on Oct. 7. “And so we went through it once and we saw how it affected him.”
Wade says the dialogue he, Union and Zaya had was not the same as what they experienced with Zaire, but was just as important.
“And so once we got to Zaya, which is a whole different conversation that’s going on in the world and it’s way uglier,” he said.
“Zaire’s conversation was about sports. Zaya’s is about what a lot of people don’t even understand and get. And so we sat down with Zaya about being on social media. Her, my wife and I, we just talked about, we just want to make sure if she’s going to be on social media, if she’s going to show people some of her life, it’s going to be the people that she wants, that’s in her circle.”
Wade said limiting the conversation on social media to those you want to interact with is vital and provides a way for Zaya to remain mentally healthy.
“Everybody on the outside, that noise on the outside, that (doesn’t) matter. What matters is the voice that you allow in your circle,” he said.
“And so that’s the people we wanted to follow her journey and follow her life. And so that’s what we did and we left the hate out of it. There’s enough of that in the world. She gets enough of it. We didn’t want it to be on her comments so she can read it. We know what we are in this world. Mental health is a very — this is an important topic in this world. It’s very important for us as parents to protect the health of our kids, both physically and mentally, so we wanted to do that.”
Wade has long been supportive of Zaya and her journey.
“I watched my son, from day one, become into who she now eventually has come into,” he said on the “All the Smoke” podcast in 2019. “And for me, it’s all about: Nothing changes with my love. Nothing changes in my responsibilities. So, all I had to do now is get smarter, educate myself more. And that’s my job.
“She’s my daughter. She’s beautiful and she has so many other great qualities that she is tapping into that everyone is starting to see,” he said during an Instagram Live in 2021.