Call her by her name: She is Zaya Wade

NBA legend Dwayne Wade sat down with Ellen DeGeneres on Feb. 11 when she commended him and his actress wife Gabrielle Union for their remarkable parenting in supporting their 12-year-old daughter Zaya.

Born Zion Wade, the pre-teen came home and expressed that she was ready to live her life as a girl, Zaya. At that point, the Wades knew it was their job to get more information and educate themselves on how to progressively raise their child. The couple talked to cast members of the FX show “Pose” and reached out to others that they knew. Both Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union are vocal allies of the LGBTQ+ community and about supporting their daughter so she has the full potential in living a fulfilling life. 

Once the episode of “Ellen” was aired, all of a sudden everyone had an opinion on Zaya Wade.

The Wades have received much support from celebrities in solidarity with Zaya, such as Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington and Tracee Ellis Ross. But, some celebrities have been vocal about their opposing views on the matter.

The loudest voice was Boosie “Wipe me Down” Badazz, the rapper that has single-handedly changed the college party scene as we know it with this timeless classic. But, what does Boosie know about the LGBTQ+ community? Clearly not a lot.

Boosie went on his phone and recorded himself making the accusations that Zaya had plans on undergoing surgery to physically transition, when that is not the case here. The Wades did not say that their daughter was undergoing surgery. 

The main reason that naysayers are using to justify their opinion is that Zaya is too young. I strongly believe the Wades understand that Zaya is only a pre-teen and too young to go through with the change, but it is also illegal for Zaya to undergo the surgery at such an early age. So, the assumption that this child is physically transitioning is absurd. 

Additionally, many kids develop crushes and have fake relationships in elementary school when it involves a young boy and girl because that is what’s normalized. But, when a 12-year-old child is vocal about their identity and brave enough to live in their truth knowing the world may not be so kind, you listen.

Boosie should be the last man to have an opinion on what is appropriate and inappropriate when he has made other obscene comments involving his teenage son’s sexuality, saying he will hire a woman to perform oral sex on his son for his 14th birthday. Where was the outrage then? Is 14 not too young to expose a child to sexuality? The standards double when dealing with heterosexuality.

Celebrities were awfully quiet when rapper T.I. publicly admitted to checking his 18-year-old daughter’s hymen. The hymen is a thin piece of mucosal tissue that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening. It forms part of the vulva, or external genitalia, and is similar in structure to the vagina. The rapper takes his daughter to the gynecologist to get her hymen examined yearly to check whether or not she is a virgin. 

There seems to be an urge to maintain the purity in girls and ensure masculinity in boys while neglecting the feelings of the child. 

While the people speaking out against the Wades think Zaya is too young to know about herself, they do not bat an eye at other kids who are cisgender. If a child says they are heterosexual and cisgender, it is normal and almost praised for not deviating from the societal norm. If those children are not too young to know that they are cisgender, why is Zaya too young to understand herself?

Other comments on social media go past the point of saying Zaya is “too young” to understand and claim that no matter what, Zaya will “still be a boy.”

One Twitter user by the name Peculiar Baptist said “Zion Wade is male. No amount of money, drugs or surgery will change that.”

Another Twitter user by the name of Willie Lunchmeat said Zaya’s identity is not who she is, saying, “The boy seeks a departure from who he is in every way. Trans preach love and acceptance of self while despising who they actually are.”

While there are many people who have spoken against the Wades, there are even more who have shown love and admiration. People banded together on Twitter to show the respect they have for Zaya and her family, and the kind comments outweigh the hateful ones. The support for Zaya is overwhelming compared to the negativity.

I commend the Wades for standing by their daughter and respecting her for who she is. The world of sports is typically considered masculine, and the connotations of that are not necessarily understanding or respecting the LGBTQ+ community. Dwayne Wade became a role model to other men who look up to him and hopefully his love for his daughter influences other dads to love and respect their children. 

This editorial expresses the unanimous opinion of The Rider News Editorial Board. This week’s editorial was written by Opinion Editor Qur’an Hansford and Features and Entertainment Editor Jason Mount. 

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