Zaya Wade, 12, makes her red carpet debut after coming out as trans

Just weeks after her famous father, Dwyane Wade, publicly confirmed that she is transgender, 12-year-old Zaya Wade has made her official red carpet debut.

The pre-teen joined her retired NBA star dad and stepmother Gabrielle Union for Saturday’s Truth Awards, which recognizes the black LGBTQ+ community and its allies. The family coordinated their outfits by wearing bespoke Richfresh suits in a black, white, pink and kelly green color palette, with Zaya pairing a bold green jacket and blouse with a hot pink sash and clutch.

Zaya — who last month urged supporters to “just be true to yourself” in a heart-to-heart with her dad — prepped for her big red carpet moment by road-testing some runway-worthy poses in a photo shoot at home with Union.

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Always Us. Always ❤🔥

A post shared by Gabrielle Union-Wade (@gabunion) on

“Always us,” the actress wrote on Instagram. “Always.”

Union’s post — which shows Zaya turning the poolside patio into a catwalk of sorts — was met with some transphobic reactions, but got plenty of love, too. Trans activist Janet Mock and actress Tracee Ellis Ross were among those cheering the family on, while one fan praised Union for featuring “two beautiful strong women.”

“It was important for Zaya to be a part of such a beautiful night and reminding her of all the love and support she has,” Union shared in a separate post featuring Wade. “We were moved to tears so many times throughout the night. So much gratitude.”

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Dwyane Wade with his family
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Dwyane Wade with his family
MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat greets his daughter Kaavia James Union Wade after playing the final home game of his career at American Airlines Arena on April 09, 2019 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat hugs his son, Zion Wade, after his final career home game at American Airlines Arena on April 09, 2019 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat addresses the media after his final regular season home game at American Airlines Arena with his daughter, Kaavia James Union Wade, on April 09, 2019 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: Gabrielle Union, wife of Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat, looks on with their daughter, Kaavia James Union Wade, prior to Wade's final regular season home game against the Philadelphia 76ers at American Airlines Arena on April 09, 2019 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat poses for a photo with his wife, Gabrielle Union, nephew, Dahveon Morris, and children, Kaavia James Union Wade, Zaire Wade, Xavier Wade and Zion Wade after his final career home game at American Airlines Arena on April 09, 2019 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 16: Dwayne Wade (C), wife Gabrielle Union-Wade (L) and son Zaire (R) look on during the MTN DEW 3-Point Contest as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 16, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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In another post, she added, “We keep moving forward. We keep leading with love, light, and hope for a better more inclusive world. Stay put and stay mad if you want. We keep it pushing. Always.”

Wade also shared photos from the evening, taking a moment to play proud papa.

“Everyone allow her to re-introduce herself— her name is Zaya Wade!” the former Miami Heat star wrote. “Last night was Zaya’s first red carpet and we couldn’t have been prouder of how she handled the questions that were asked of her. She has emerged as one of the young faces and voices for the LGBTQ+ community.”

Wade’s post drew support from stars like actor Mark Wahlberg and former basketball star Chris Bosh.

 

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