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Dwyane Wade says that daughter Zaya, 12, had known her gender identity “since she was three years old”

Basketball star Dwyane Wade said his 12-year-old daughter Zaya knew her gender identity years “nine years” before coming out as a transgender for her family.

The 38-year-old retired athlete proudly called his daughter “our leader” and revealed that she was resigning their family to reveal that she identified herself as a woman.

“She’s known it for nine years. She has been known since she was three years old, “Wade said in an interview with Robin Roberts Good morning America on Tuesday.

“In this way we asked questions and learned. But she is known, “he said.

Zaya was originally called Zion and was born a boy.

“Me and my family, we love the fact that she doesn’t have to hide who she is. She is our leader. ”

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Basketball star Dwyane Wade said his 12-year-old daughter Zaya knew her gender identity years “nine years” before she came to her family as a trans

“She’s known it for nine years. She has been known since she was three years old, “Wade said in an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America on Tuesday

In his upcoming documentary D. Wade: Life Unexpected, Wade will talk about the gender identity of his daughter. Pictured above with wife Gabrielle Union, daughter Zaya and baby Kaavia in his arms

In his upcoming documentary D. Wade: Life Unexpected, Wade will talk about the gender identity of his daughter. Pictured above with wife Gabrielle Union, daughter Zaya and baby Kaavia in his arms

In his upcoming documentary D. Wade: Life Unexpected, Wade will talk about the gender identity of his daughter. Pictured above with wife Gabrielle Union, daughter Zaya and baby Kaavia in his arms

But Wade admitted that at a young age he had a premonition about Zaya and had to look at his own prejudices and language.

“I knew early on that I had to check myself. That is what I knew. I knew early on that I had to ask myself questions, “he said.

“I was someone in a dressing room who was part of the conversation and who said the wrong sentences and words,” Wade revealed.

“As I grew older and I saw my daughter grow, I had to look at myself in the mirror and say,” Who are you? What will you do when your child comes home and says, “Daddy, I” is not a boy … I am a trans girl. “What are you going to do?” That was my real moment, “he said.

Zaya’s journey will be featured in Wade’s new documentary D. Wade: Living unexpectedly, where he begins his story about his basketball career and family life with wife Gabrielle Union and four children.

In addition to Zaya, Wade is the father of the 15-month-old daughter Kaavia James; Xavier Zachariah, six; and Zaire Blessing Dwyane, 18. He is also the guardian of his cousin Dahveon Morris, 18.

The documentary makes its debut on Sunday 23 February on ESPN.

“I struggled with how much I wanted to talk about it in the doc, I actually talked a lot about it, but I knew it would be a big conversation if I put it in the doc,” Wade said.

“This is not a game for us. We are about protecting her heart and protecting her joy and we have to support them. ”

Wade revealed that Zaya (above) let their family sit down to appear as trans. “She was the one who sat down with us as a family and said I don’t think I’m gay. This is my gender identity. I identify myself as a young lady. I think I’m a heterosexual trans, because I still love boys, “he said

But Wade admitted that although he had a premonition, it took a while to reconcile his own prejudices to embrace Zaya’s identity. “I knew early on that I had to check myself. That is what I knew. I knew early on that I had to ask myself questions, “he said. Pictured above with Zaya

As the family sails through these new waters, Wade said that Zaya is talking the helm. She was the one who started a conversation with Wade and his wife Union, 47, to come out.

“Zaya knew two things early on. She knew straight and she knew gay. But Zaya started to do more research. She was the one who sat down with us as a family and said I don’t think I’m gay, “Wade said.

“This is my gender identity. I identify myself as a young lady. I think I’m a heterotransfer because I still love boys. So it was just a process for us to sit down with our daughter and find out who she is and what she likes, “Wade added.

This is the first time Wade has ever let someone come out in his life “as gay, as trans, as something.”

“My daughter was my first interaction when it came to dealing with this conversation,” he said.

“Hopefully I treat it the right way. Some people feel that I am not. But in our house we see the smile on her face. We see the confidence that she can walk around and be herself. And that’s when you know you’re doing it right, “he added.

This is the first time Wade has ever let someone come out in his life “as gay, as trans, as something.” “My daughter was my first interaction when it came to dealing with this conversation,” Wade said. Pictured above with Zaya, baby Kaavia and wife Gabrielle Union

Zaya depicted with stepmother Gabrielle Union and baby Kaavia

Zaya depicted with stepmother Gabrielle Union and baby Kaavia

Zaya depicted with stepmother Gabrielle Union and baby Kaavia

He advised other parents who experienced something similar and said: “The greatest thing is an open mind. Investigate. Ask your child. Ask other people questions because this conversation is real. “

‘Our 12-year-old handles this every day. This is her life every day. This is not a game for us. We are going to protect her heart. We want to protect her joy, “he added.

“Our family is imperfect, but we love each other for who we are,” Wade said.

When asked how Zaya deals with coming out, he says that she concentrates on her schoolwork.

“She’s a kid who wants to focus on school,” Wade said. ‘Today she has a sham test at school that she is very stressed about. And she is like: “Daddy, I came to everyone because I wanted to be myself. And I am grateful that I can be myself, but I have to concentrate on my test at school. She is focused. I think for her and myself and my wife and my family, we love the fact that she doesn’t have to hide who she is. ”

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