At just 15 years old, Zaya Wade has already made a name for herself as an activist, fashion icon, and role model for the trans community. In a recent cover story with Dazed, she spoke candidly about the challenges and triumphs of her journey, and how the support of her family and friends has been crucial to her success.
Zaya’s father, basketball player Dwayne Wade, and stepmother, actress Gabrielle Union, have been instrumental in helping her navigate her transition in the public eye. Through family therapy and reaching out to resources like the cast of “Pose,” they have shown unwavering support for their daughter’s identity.
In March 2022, Zaya Wade made her runway debut at Paris Fashion Week, with her parents cheering her on from the sidelines. Their support, captured in a viral video, has been praised by fans and advocates alike.
But supporting a child who is transitioning is not always easy. Many parents struggle with how to best support their child’s process, while also dealing with their own emotional and mental adjustments.
According to licensed clinical social worker Darlene Tando, support from parents is crucial to the well-being of transgender youth. When parents affirm and support their child’s gender identity, it can lead to decreased suicidal tendencies and less risk of physical abuse at school.
To better equip themselves, Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade sought out resources and started family therapy. They also took steps to protect Zaya Wade’s mental health, like limiting who can comment on her Instagram posts.
Psychotherapist Shavon Gaddy-Dalrymple says that the scope of supportive parenting for trans children varies, from simple acts like buying clothes that fit their new expression to more complex steps like moving to a more accepting community.
In the end, the most important thing is to listen to and support your child’s journey. As Zaya says, her family’s support has been vital to her becoming her true self. And in doing so, they have become powerful advocates for the trans community, showing that love and acceptance can make all the difference.
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