On Tuesday (June 7), NBA All-Star and philanthropist Dwyane Wade shared his thoughts on gun laws and schools banning LGBTQ+ educational opportunities during the TIME 100 Summit. As the father of a teenage transgender child, Wade spoke empathetically not only about the mass shootings that have been taking place recently, but about fearing for his own daughter’s life not only because of gun violence but because of how the world perceives her regarding her sexual identity.
“To me, it’s a joke,” he stated. “I mean this is our life we live this. And so when you’re out there making rules and if you’re not experiencing this, if you’re not living this … you just out there signing away and making laws, that’s not right. it’s a joke.”
He added, “Come and live a day in my world with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her. I just think we’re losing our humane, we’re losing our human side of us. And as sad as it is … 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.”
Wade has made it clear in many interviews that his now 15-year-old daughter Zaya knew since the age of three that she was transgender. He often credits her for being the one who actually educated their family on what it means to be trans.
Later in the emotional conversation, Wade spoke on gender-equality and how parenting has taught him to listen more to his children and then follow their lead. “I went years without telling my chef that I don’t like cilantro on my burger, as an adult, it took me years to have the confidence to say that,” he revealed. “My daughter at eight years old, had the confidence to say ‘This is who I am. This is who I want to be.’”
More and more lawmakers are creating bills and initiatives to further discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community when it comes to medical care and even sports. Bills banning young trans athletes have been running rampant in approvals, from the South Carolina “Save Women’s Sports Act,” to Pennsylvania’s recently passed bill which “provides for sport activities in public institutions of higher education and public school entities to be expressly designated male, female or coed; and creating causes of action for harm suffered by designation.”
Speaking on laws that he just doesn’t agree with, Wade went on to encourage lawmakers and parents to learn more about the LGBTQ community before “closing the book” on it. Even with his huge celebrity presence, Wade has never been a stranger to speaking out against politics and laws that simply “are not right.” With three NBA championships, 13 All-Star appearances and a 16-year basketball career, Wade continues to speak for the people as he considers himself still “a part of the community.”
When asked if he might ever run for politcal office one day, he simply said, “I’m not there yet. I’ve never thought about that … I have no idea. I would not say ‘no’ as I sit here … but I’m a parent, I’m a community leader, I’m a part of the community, you know, so I think it gets to a point when you get …. it’s only so much you can do, right? I think sometimes we … all of us, we feel hopeless. It’a only so much we can do. So, I don’t know. But it’s not in my five year goals.”