On Tuesday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, former NBA star Dwyane Wade announced that his 12-year-old is now going by the name Zaya and said how he and wife, actress Gabrielle Union have thrown their support behind her.
Now, Zaya herself is speaking out and wants to offer advice to young people who may be going through a similar situation.
"What's the point of being on this earth if you're gonna try to be someone you're not? It's like you're not even living as yourself, which is like the dumbest concept to me,” said Zaya in a video posted by Union. "It's just like, be true and don't really care what the stereotypical way of being you is. Even through hard times, you gotta push through. It's worth it when you reach that point of yourself."
Union captioned the video with a message of support. "She's compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her,” she wrote. “It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people."
Previously, Wade has said Gabrielle Union helped him to be more open-minded with Zaya’s identity. On DeGenres show, he expounded on his experience being her parent.
“First of all me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and we’re proud allies as well. We take our roles and responsibilities as parents very seriously,” he said. “So, when our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything it’s our job as parents to listen to that to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can, and that doesn’t change now that sexuality [and gender] is involved.
"Once Zaya,” he continued, “a 12-year-old came home -- first Zion... I don't know if everybody knows, originally named Zion born as a boy -- once Zaya came home and said, 'Hey, I want to talk to you guys. I think, going forward, I'm ready to live my truth," saying her pronoun would be “she” and that she would go by the name Zaya.
Wade has another child, Zaire, 18, with ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches, who is Zaya's biological mother. Also, a son, Xavier, 6, with Aja Metoyer. He has custody of his nephew, Dahveon, 17 and in November of 2018, Union and Wade welcomed their first daughter together, Kaavia James, via a surrogate.
Watch the clip of the interview here and you can watch the full interview today on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.