NBA superstar Dwyane Wade spoke out against the onslaught of laws targeting transgender youth, adding that he fears for the safety of his 15-year-old daughter Zaya, who’s trans, “every time she leaves the house.”
The three-time NBA champion and philanthropist was in New York City on Tuesday, as one of the speakers at the Time 100 Summit. When asked about his reaction to the ongoing attack on the rights of transgender youth by state lawmakers across the country, Wade said that it all felt like “a joke” — in a terrifying way.
“This is our life — we live this,” he told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “And so when you’re out there making rules, and if you’re not experiencing this, or living this, and you are just there signing away and making laws, that’s not right,” he added, referring to lawmakers who continue to pass legislation affecting transgender youth.
Both Wade and his wife, Hollywood powerhouse Gabrielle Union, have been outspoken LGBTQ allies and fierce trans rights advocates ever since Zaya announced that she was going to start living as her true self, about two years ago.
Speaking passionately about the issue, the 40-year-old sports star suggested that politicians who don’t understand families with trans kids shouldn’t pass laws affecting transgender youth because they have no idea how hard it can be for them.
“Come and live a day in my world, with my daughter,” he said “Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.”
To Wade, it feels like “we’re losing the human side of us,” he continued, adding that he’s constantly worried for his daughter’s safety.
“As blessed as it is for my daughter to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves the house,” he said. “And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, there are more than 320 anti-LGBTQ bills currently under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of those, at least 140 directly affect trans people. Most of them focus on trans youth, banning kids from participating in sports or even receiving gender-affirming health care.
On Monday, Louisiana became the 18th state to bar transgender girls and women from competing in school sports aligned with their gender identity, according to the Movement Advancement Project.