Dwyane Wade Says Daughter Zaya Was Afraid to Come Out to Him

The NBA legend said that he had to re-evaluate his ideas of parenting and masculinity.

This week, Dwyane Wade gave a talk at the Creative Artists Agency Amplify event in Ojai, California. The former NBA player sat down with fellow basketballer Chris Paul and manager Lisa Metelus to share insights into his life and career highlights. .

According to NBC News, when asked about the "landmark moment" of having his daughter, Zaya, talk to him about being transgender, Wade recounted the event in detail.

“So I came home and I just remember my child being scared to talk to me, like hiding in my wife’s arm in a chair,” Wade recounted. “I think I’m this dad that’s like, ‘Hey, come and tell me anything! I’m a cool dad.’ And it was fear in my child’s face to tell me and so I had to check myself. I had to go look myself in the mirror and ask myself: ‘Why was my child scared? Scared to tell me something about herself?’”

Wade, who is married to Gabrielle Union, said that “In a lot of work as parents — and as people — what we do is we put our fears and everything on our kids. And I guess I was doing that,” he said. “So I had to go look myself in the mirror and ask myself... What is it about my masculinity that has my child afraid?”

Wade shared that Zaya came out as gay in the third grade and as transgender in 2020. He noted that his priority was keeping the now 16-year-old safe.

Related: Dwyane Wade Explains Why He Sold His Florida Home: “My Family Would Not Be Accepted”

“The world went crazy,” Wade said of a picture that he shared in 2020 of his family during Thanksgiving. Commenters attacked Zaya being dressed in a crop top and wearing acrylic nails. Wade added that “obviously” he went into protection mode and immediately publicly supported his child but he still had “so much” to learn at that time.

He said the most challenging thing for them as a family was the public's "miseducation."

“I think the hardest part about it is shutting out the world and shutting out the people that really are not in (our) circle,” he said. “But they have opinions and we are public-facing family.”

Earlier this year, Wade said that protecting Zaya was one of the reasons he and his family moved out of Florida—a state which has passed numerous anti-LGBTQ bills. "That's another reason why I don't live in that state," Wade told PEOPLE. "A lot of people don't know that. I have to make decisions for my family, not just personal, individual decisions."

"I mean, obviously, the tax [situation] is great. Having Wade County is great. But my family would not be accepted or feel comfortable there. And so that's one of the reasons why I don't live there."

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