American Zaya Wade came out as a trans girl in 2020 and has since become a well-known young member of the transgender community.
Zaya Wade: Who Is She?
Zaya Wade is the elder daughter of former NBA player Dwyane Wade. Gabrielle Union is her stepmother. Zaya revealed to her parents at the age of 12 that she was a transgender girl, something her father believes she knew since she was three. Zaya and her family publicly revealed her gender in February 2020 in order for her to live as her true self. Zaya appeared on the red carpet with Dwayne and Union the following month. She has since gained recognition as a prominent younger member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Zaya Wade: Early Life and Parents
On May 29, 2007, Zaya Wade was born. Zaya Wade is the daughter of former Miami Heat basketball player Dwyane Wade and Siohvaughn Funchess. Dwyane obtained full custody of Zaya and her older brother, Zaire Blessing Dwyane, following his divorce from Funches.
Gabrielle Union, Zaya's stepmother, married Dwyane in 2014. In 2018, Union and Dwyane had Zaya's younger sister, Kaavia James, via surrogate. Dwyane fathered Zaya's younger brother, Xavier Zechariah, in a previous relationship. Her father is also the guardian of Zaya's cousin, Dahveon Morris.
Zaya encouraged Dwyane and Union to learn more about the transgender community, which included speaking with the Pose cast. "We just tried to gather as much information as we could to ensure that we give our child the best chance to be her best self."
Zaya Wade: Coming Out
Zaya revealed to her family that she was gay when she was eight years old. Her loved ones were hesitant to reveal this at the time, fearing a negative reaction. "It gets nasty when you're in the public eye," Dwyane explained. "She was eight years old when she came out. She wasn't prepared for what the rest of the world had to say."
Zaya's understanding of herself grew as she grew older, and at the age of 12, she stated that she wanted to go by Zaya and use she/her pronouns. Her father has revealed, "She was the one who sat us all down and said, 'Hey, I don't think I'm gay.' 'This is how I identify myself,' she said as she went down the list. This describes my gender identity. I consider myself to be a young lady. Because I like boys, I believe I am a straight trans.'" Zaya desired to be able to live as her true self, which meant being open about her gender.
Dwyane first used the pronouns she/her to refer to Zaya in December 2019. On The Ellen DeGeneres Show on February 11, 2020, he stated that Zaya was a girl and used the pronouns she/her. Following Dwyane's appearance on Ellen, Union posted a video on Twitter with the introduction, "Say hello to Zaya. We are so proud of her because she is compassionate, loving, and extremely intelligent." "Be true to yourself â€” what's the point of being on this Earth if you're going to try and be someone you're not?" Zaya said in the video.
"With all of the love comes all of the hate," Union said of the reaction to Zaya's coming out as transgender. In addition to messages of support, there were bigoted and transphobic comments on social media.
Zaya Wade: Public Figure and Activist
Zaya and Union attended Miami Pride in 2019. In March 2020, she attended the Truth Awards in Los Angeles, which recognize achievements in the Black LGBTQ+ community. The 12-year-old walked the red carpet alongside Dwyane and Union, wearing matching custom-made suits. Zaya responded when asked how she felt about being an inspiration to others, "It feels fantastic to me. I always felt like there was something I was meant to do.... I think I found it."
"Everyone, please allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Zaya Wade!" her father wrote on Instagram following the event. "Last night was Zaya's first red carpet appearance, and we couldn't be more proud of how she handled the questions. She has emerged as one of the LGBTQ+ community's young faces and voices."
Zaya became an inspiration to the LGBTQ+ community and beyond after coming out. In 2020, she was named one of The Advocate's Women of the Year and one of The Root's Young Futurists as a Black person working to better the world.
In March 2021, Zaya interviewed former First Lady Michelle Obama in connection with the publication of a younger-oriented edition of Obama's memoir Becoming.