Pride

Shea Diamond, Nomi Ruiz & More Condemn Transphobic Comments About Dwyane Wade's Daughter: Exclusive

Last week, former NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade made headlines when he revealed, in an interview on Ellen, that his child came to him and wife Gabrielle Union and told them that she identified as a girl who now goes by the name Zaya. In the conversation, Wade revealed that he and Union went out of their way to learn more about transgender issues and gender pronouns to help them better support their daughter.

"We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously," Wade told DeGeneres. "So when our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information that we can, to give them the best feedback that we can -- and that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”

While many (including DeGeneres) have come out in support of Wade and Union's decision, thanking them for serving as an example of what parenting a transgender child should look like, others went in the opposite direction. This week, rappers Boosie Badazz and Young Thug both made public transphobic statements regarding Wade and his daughter; Thug posted a tweet misgendering Zaya, while Badazz went on a tirade via Instagram, where he misgendered Zaya and said to Wade, "Don't cut his d--k off." While many immediately called out the rappers for their behavior, others defended them, saying they were right to question Wade and Union's support.

Billboard Pride reached out to high-profile trans artists to hear what they had to say about the situation involving Badazz, Thug, Wade and Zaya. Here's how they responded:

Shea Diamond:

"On what planet do we as adults make bullying and concerning ourselves with their private parts acceptable? The only thing people that aren’t parents of LGBTQ kids should have to say in the transition of Zaya is 'Great job, to her parents!!!!' Those of us who have lived this experience before her [understand] that Zaya already has a lot to overcome living as a black trans woman trying desperately to live her truth. While other children can ... focus on their education she has to go to war with adults whose ideas and dated concepts make this world dangerous for LGBTQ youth who are already at a disadvantage. As adults and influencers we have to realize that our words have power and impact. It’s child abuse to attack a child through social media knowing we live in an era where we pressure those that are different to commit suicide. We as elders in this experience will protect Zaya as if she was our own, it takes a well informed village to raise healthy, happy and well adjusted children. Zaya is our rare chance to show strength in the black community by refusing to see her as disposable ...

"Zaya gets to see herself as a whole person, living her life and making her own rules, if her parents are accepting, who are we as outsiders of this experience to amplify our voices beyond that of her parents? Zaya knows who she is already and doesn’t need our help with that, but many of us never get to live an authentic life because we have already been conditioned to hate Zaya when we were her age, so we teach our children to stay away from her and get her to conform to our ways of thinking by any means necessary!!! Zaya isn’t growing up in a home that doesn’t value her or validate her experiences!!! She is growing up in the wave of Pose, Shea Diamond, Lil Nas X, Kim Petras, Lance Bass and RuPaul ... most LGBTQ children don’t have supportive homes, role models or possibly models ... Zaya is the future and it’s time folks get used to it!!!"

Nomi Ruiz

"The outside world will never truly understand the magnitude of the trans experience, especially that of a child who has an undying need to live in truth despite being ostracized for it. The only way for trans children to thrive is to allow them to live freely in the face of a society that abuses them for it. And here's a life hack: it's how every child should be raised. Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are setting an amazing example and I commend them for it but it is also sad we live in a world where loving your child unconditionally is something worthy of praise, it should be the status quo."

Ryan Cassata:

"Dwyane Wade showing his support for his 12-year-old child Zaya is a game changer for the transgender community. Zaya seems like a remarkable young person who knows herself well. The love and support she gets from her family probably made the coming out process much easier for her. I hope that Zaya inspires more young trans people to be their true selves and I hope Dwyane’s response shows parents that they can accept their child.

"Many acts of bravery are often met with resistance. Zaya’s coming out and Dwyane showing support is getting lots of backlash from random Twitter trolls and even famous people such as Young Thug. It’s sad to see so much transphobia but it doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been dealing with transphobia my entire life.

"Not only do some people believe that Trans people do not exist but some people also believe that it’s impossible to know who you are from a young age.

"I’m 26 now. I started my coming out process at 12 coming out as bisexual and then at 13 started to understand my gender identity more. I came out at a time where not many people were out as trans. By 14 I was out to family and friends as Ryan, a young transgender boy. The things I liked then are still things I like now: Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Baseball, Playing Music, Activism Work, etc. My interests have expanded greatly over the past few years but I am still the same me, still trans, and still into music, activism, and baseball. 

"'God makes no mistakes,' Young Thug said. First off being trans isn’t a mistake. It’s a gift. Second, If God makes no mistakes then why would someone mistakenly think they are trans?! Mistakenly come out? Mistakenly get support from their parent? Nope! Trans people exist! We are real and we are here to stay. Kudos to Zaya for coming out in the age of transphobia and thank you Dwyane for publicly showing your support! Both of you are assets to our beautiful community."

Alexandra Grey: 

"I think it’s really unfortunate. And I think it says a lot about where we are as [it] relates to gender and sexuality in the black community. This is a conversation that we really haven’t discussed amongst our community. It’s never been up for discussion. It’s still so taboo. So I’m not surprised that you have someone like a Young Thug coming out and misgendering their young child. I think it boils down to, how does a person being transgender affect your life? Does it take away value from you? Does it deny you food? Does it deny you housing? Does it affect you in anyway? And the answer is simply no it doesn’t. I think all anyone is asking is for you to respect people's choices as human beings. I applaud Gabrielle and Dwyane for really opening up to the world and saying yes I have a transgender child, and although we are celebrities we just want to give visibility to other parents who may not be as supportive, or who may not know how to deal with their trans child. So I hope this can be a teaching moment for people to kind of keep their opinions to themselves. And let folks live their best lives.

"And if I can add, the passing of Kobe Bryant was such a shock to the entire world. He was loved by so many. And I think that one day we are all going to transition on to a different place, and at the end of that I think the feeling is that we’re all human beings, we all have feelings, we all die. So why spend your time on this earth judging someone else’s life choices? As long as they are not hurting anyone, physically, mentally, or emotionally. Let it go."

Mila Jam:

"It’s such a revolutionary act for Dwyane Wade & Gabrielle Union to simply love and respect their daughter Zaya as she is. So many of us from the black community are denied our existence. For any parent, but especially black parents to love their child in a way where they listen and support them is what every black child needs.

"Fear-based ignorance recycled within the black community has always prevented us from elevating. The black & brown lgbtq+ community has rarely been awarded space to exist within our own blackness. It's like a controlling dictatorship. We’re long overdue for making space for black and brown lgbtqia youth and The Wades are a great part of revolutionizing the wellness and love of our future. The ignorance is just noise."

Blossom C. Brown

"Young Thug’s and Boosie Badazz’s comments are just another prime example of bullying and transphobia at work towards a CHILD! I think Zaya knows more about who she is versus so many adults who even at their ages respectively are still trying to find their selves. These rappers' problematic statements are the reasons why we still need to have open dialogue about transgender/gnc individuals and the difference between gender identity, sexual orientation, along generational trauma within the black community because often we are left out of the 'Black Empowerment Movement' which we are afraid to discuss in hetero-cis spaces. Seeing Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union showing love and support by reaching out and asking the trans community how to help them become better 'allies' and become more knowledgeable is truly a great start in the right direction. I think the Wade family are the perfect example of a powerful black family sticking together and showing their daughter that her existence does and always will matter! And when Young Thug says 'God Don't Make Mistakes,' trust we know he didn’t!!! God made Zaya to be able to stand her truth and become the brilliant powerful resilient human being that she was meant to be! And these rappers are not above God!"