Dwyane Wade has supported his 15-year-old daughter, Zaya, in every step of her journey toward living truthfully as a member of the transgender community, but his concerns for her safety are on high alert given America’s volatile political climate.
Speaking at the Time 100 summit Wednesday in New York City, the retired NBA superstar spoke out against the recent surge in anti-LGBTQ legislation nationwide. His remarks came just one day after Louisiana banned transgender women and girls from participating on female sports teams in schools ― the 18th U.S. state to do so.
“To me, it’s a joke. This is our life,” Wade told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “We live this. So when you’re out there making rules, and if you’re not experiencing this ― if you’re not living this and you’re just out there signing away and making laws ― that’s not right. That’s a joke.”
Watch a video of Wade’s remarks below.
Speaking to lawmakers who propose and support such legislation, he added, “Come and live a day in my world with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.”
Wade first confirmed Zaya’s gender identity ― with her consent ― while promoting his ESPN documentary, “D. Wade: Life Unexpected,” in 2020. Describing himself and wife Gabrielle Union as “proud allies,” he said the couple were determined to give Zaya “the best opportunity to be her best self.”
The athlete told Harlow on Wednesday that he was “still afraid every moment [Zaya] leaves the house” due to both gun violence and “the way that people perceive her in this world.”
He also alluded to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education ― or “Don’t Say Gay” ― law, adding, “We’re not going to close the book on anyone being gay, bisexual, transgender ― we can’t close the book on that.”
Both Wade and Union have emerged as staunch LGBTQ rights advocates in recent years. In March, Union criticized Disney’s checkered response to the Florida law while walking the red carpet for a premiere of “Cheaper by the Dozen,” a Disney film.