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Dwayne Wade transgender daughter Zaya makes 1st red carpet appearance

Dwayne Wade’s 12-year-old daughter Zaya made her first red carpet appearance over the weekend since she came out as transgender in February.

Zaya Wade, Dwayne and his wife, Gabrielle Union, attended the 2020 Truth Awards at the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Hollywood Saturday evening.

Zaya wore a bright green tuxedo jacket with black pants, a pink sash and black boots as she posed for photos beside Wade, 38, and Union, 47, both of whom wore coordinating outfits with Zaya.

The Truth Awards benefit the Sheryl Lee Ralph’s DIVA Foundation and its partnership with Better Brothers Los Angeles, which works to create spaces and educational, financial, and social opportunities for black LGBTQ individuals.

On Sunday, Wade shared a photo of Zaya from the outing on Instagram, telling his followers, “Everyone allow her to re-introduce herself her name is Zaya Wade!”

Dwayne Wade Transgender Daughter Zaya

Dwayne Wade, left, attends the Truth Awards in Hollywood on Saturday with his transgender daughter Zaya, center, and his wife, Gabrielle Union. Photo: Andreas Branch / The Truth Awards.

Union also shared a number of photos of herself, Wade, and Zaya. She  captioned one of them, “We keep moving forward. We keep leading with love, light, and hope for a better more inclusive world. Stay put and stay mad if you want. We keep it pushing. Always. ❤❤❤.”

But not every transgender black person has parents like Wade and Union.

According to the Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 Black and African American LGBTQ Youth Report:

  • 77% of black youth said they have heard family members say negative things about LGBTQ people
  • 47% have been taunted or mocked by family for being LGBTQ
  • only 19% can “definitely” be themselves at home
  • 67% of black trans youth specifically say their families make them feel bad because of their trans identity.
  • 80% say they feel depressed or down due to not being accepted.

During the Truth Awards, the Wade Family presented the Business Leadership Award to family friends and “Styling Hollywood” stars Jason Bolden and his husband Adair Curtis.

Just before the presentation, Union said, “It was really important for Zaya’s first red carpet to be celebrating black excellence in her community.”

Wade then told the crowd that he and his wife weren’t educated about the LGBTQ community when Zaya was 8 years old and came out to them four years ago.

“We immediately picked up the phone and reached out to our good friends Jason and Adair,” Wade said. “They helped us navigate the right language to use, the questions to ask, and what to listen for.

“They also reminded us,” Wade said, “to make sure Zaya knew her community and felt the love and support inside and outside her home.”

Editor’s note: PFLAG offers support to all families and friends who might be struggling after a loved one comes out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. PFLAG has resources for families of transgender kids and a guide to being a transgender ally.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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