Over the past few months, basketball star Dwayne Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union have made headlines surrounding their support for their 12-year-old child Zion. Just weeks ago, both took to social media to respond to bigots attacking the teenager for living their life in a way that's comfortable to them. Now, in a recent podcast interview with Showtime's All the Smoke, Wade has gone into depth about not only why he responded to those online attacks, but also explained his relationship with Zion.
"This is the new normal, everybody needs to get used to it," Wade said at one point in the interview, referring to the increase in visibility of not only queer people but queer issues in culture. "If anybody is different, we're looked at as different; the ones who don't understand it. The ones that don't get it and are stuck in a box, you're different. Not the people that are out there living their lives."
Below, read a full transcript of what Wade had to say about Zion feeling comfortable enough to discuss their identity with the family, and how Wade dealt with that personally.
Well first of all, you want to talk about strength and courage? My 12-year-old has way more than I have. You can learn something from your kids. In our household, that's all we talk about; we talk about making sure our kids are seen by each of us. Me and my wife, we talk about making sure our kids understand the power in their voice. We want them to be whoever they feel they can be in this world. That's our goal: Understand you can be whoever, you can be whatever.
Now, there's some things that, while you're trying to go down that process, these are some things that are going to come at you. There's going to be negativity, it's going to be a lot of hate. It's not even just from my son's sexuality, it's just about being a young Black man and everything that comes with that.
When I respond to things socially, I'm not responding because you're hurting my feelings. I'm not responding because I care about what you're saying, because as we say in the in the hood it's 'ignant.' Why I'm responding is because I understand my platform. I understand that I'm speaking for a lot of people don't have the same voice that I have. As a father, I'm even speaking for my 12-year-old because I haven't allowed them to sit in front of a microphone yet. But I'm speaking for so many others in the LGBTQ+ community. For me it's just my version of supporting.
I had to look myself in the mirror when my son, at the time, was 3 years old and me and my wife were having conversations about us noticing that he wasn't on the boy vibe that Zaire was on. So I had to look myself in the mirror and say 'what are you going to do if your son comes home and tell you he's gay? What are you going to do? How are you going to be? How are you going to act? It ain't about him. He knows who he is, it's about you. Who are you?'
So all the people who are out there saying those things, look at yourself. Understand that you you're the one that got the issues. You're the one that got the problem; it's not the kids. It's not that you decided that they were born a certain way and they have to be that way ... that's not life man. I watched my son from day one become into who she, now eventually has come into.
For me it's all about, nothing changes with my love. Nothing changes with my responsibilities. Only thing I have to do now is get smarter and educate myself more, and that's my job.