What Every Dad Can Learn from Dwyane Wade
Unless you follow basketball or pop culture news closely, you might’ve missed a recent story that I think is really important. In early February, basketball superstar Dwayne Wade shared that his daughter came out as transgender. It’s an important story for so many reasons, but most of all because it’s a legendary example of what a supportive dad looks like.
Back in October of 2019, Dwayne Wade shared an Instagram story of his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, as well as their daughter Kaavia James and his child from his first marriage, Zion. Previously, Wade has referred to Zion as his son, but in this particular photo, he captioned it “my girls.” Needless to say, it sparked controversy.
More Instagram pictures of Zion showed her embracing more feminine qualities, which spurred questions on social media, along with no shortage of bigoted comments. Eventually, in February, Wade laid out the situation in an interview with Ellen. He explained how Zion—now Zaya—came out to her parents and how their support for her transcends any questions of sexuality.
“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 because sexuality is now involved in it.”
Wade and Union are active within the LGBTQ+ community and proud, outspoken allies. They had previously declined to comment on Zaya’s sexuality not because they were ashamed, but because they were being respectful. After attending a Pridefest event with Zion, Wade was questioned and responded by saying:
“I don’t really talk about it much because it’s Zion’s story to tell. I think as a family, we should support each other. That’s our job. And my job as a father is to facilitate their lives and to support them and be behind them in whatever they want to do.”
Today, it’s all out in the open. Not only has Wade handled the situation with exceptional dignity as someone in the public eye, he’s put on a masterclass of what it means to be a good dad. He’s shown unwavering support in the face of prying questions, bigoted hate speech and general certainty. Wade has reiterated time and again that his chief concern is that of a parent—someone who his children can rely on to support them and accept them no matter what.
As dads, we’re all going to face difficult situations when it comes to our kids—but not likely as difficult is this. But that’s the big take away here: Wade makes it look easy because for him, it is. All he needs to do to be a good dad is continue to show unconditional love. It’s a good reminder for all dads out there. No matter who you are or what you do for a living, all your kids really want from you at the end of the day is to know they’re loved and accepted for who they are.