The athlete and wife Gabrielle Union introduced Zaya, previously known as Zion, to the world on Tuesday. Appearing on Ellen, Wade recalled his child telling him, "I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth. I want to be referenced as ‘she’ and ‘her,’ I would love for you guys to call me Zaya." Union then shared a video of Zaya on Twitter, saying she was "so proud" of her 12-year-old stepchild.
Meet Zaya. She’s compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people. pic.twitter.com/G2lLVdD2VT
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) February 11, 2020
Wendy first showed that video of Zaya (above) to her studio audience before commenting. In the clip, the preteen gives advice to others who are afraid of judgement. "Don’t even think about that, just be true to yourself," she said. "What’s the point of being on this Earth if you’re going to try to be someone you’re not? It’s like you’re not even living as yourself. Be true and don’t really care about the stereotypical way of being you is."
"Even through hard times, you gotta push through. It’s worth it, I feel like it’s very worth it when you reach that point of yourself," she adds.
"The quicker you figure out who you are or who you wanna be in life, the easier life gets when you get older," said Wendy, as her studio audience applauded. "That’s what I’ve discovered."
She then began dabbing tears in her eyes. "At 12 years old, a lot of us didn’t know who we were and we don’t figure it out until we get to high school or college or into our 30s," Williams added, choking up.
"I feel like, with all the bullying with kids … good for her for figuring out that lane of who she wants to be," the host continued. "At least she’s got that and a supportive mother and father. For those of you who don’t understand it or don’t like it, don’t say anything. This is a child who’s figured out more about her life than we have when we were 12, alright?"
Wade’s oldest son, Zaire, also posted a message in support of Zaya to Instagram on Wednesday morning.
"Man, I remember bugging my mom as a kid telling her I wanted a brother so bad. I was the only child looking for company and someone to look after and take care of," he wrote. "I have been blessed to have my best friend, Zaya with me for 12 years. We did everything together…we fought, we played, we laughed and we cried. But the one thing we never did was leave each other behind… I’ve told you that I would lay my life down to make sure you are ten toes down and happy on this earth."
"I don’t care what they think Z, you are my best friend and I love you kid, and if it means anything, just know there’s no love lost on this side," he added.
Watch Dwyane’s interview with Ellen below: