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Dwyane Wade Is ‘Afraid’ When Daughter Zaya Leaves the House Because ‘The Way People Perceive Her’

Dwyane Wade Is 'Afraid' When Daughter Zaya Leaves the House Because 'The Way People Perceive Her'

Dwyane Wade is getting candid about the fear he has for his 15-year-old daughter Zaya‘s safety.

On Tuesday, the former Miami Heat player, 40, spoke to CNN’S Poppy Harlow and revealed he worries every time Zaya — who came out as trasgender in 2020 — leaves the house.

“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 during the TIME100 Summit. “And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world.”

Wade then addressed lawmakers who have worked against trans rights, including gender-affirming medical care and the ability for trans athletes to participate in sports.

 “To me, it’s a joke. This is our life. We live this. When you’re out there making rules, if you’re not experiencing this,” Wade continued. “Come and live a day with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.”

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Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade and Gabrielle Union

Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade and Gabrielle Union
Credit: Andrew Toth/Getty Images

The retired NBA star praised Zaya’s ability to be her authentic self, noting that his daughter has even taught him valuable life lessons since she came out.

“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,” Wade said. “My daughter, at 8 years old, had the confidence to say ‘This is who I am. This is who I want to be.’ “

Last month, Zaya spoke to PEOPLE about her transgender journey and shared how she has been impacted by detrimental beauty advice online.

“As a trans person, once I came out, there was a lot of hateful comments about how I should grow my hair out long or fit into a certain version of femininity, even though that’s not true at all,” she explains. “That kind of advice is just trying to break you, but don’t let it.”

Zaya Wade

Zaya Wade
Credit: Earl Gibson/HFR/Shutterstock

Zaya revealed that her stepmother Gabrielle Union has given her important lessons about how each person has the ability to decide how they want to “exist in the world.”

“Her telling me that not everyone in the world and in the media is going to be truthful about what you look like,” she said.

“I don’t have to believe everything they say. The only thing I have to believe is what I feel and what beauty means to me,” Zaya continued. “I think focusing on inner beauty is the most important.”