CULTURE

Dwyane Wade Opens Up About Parenting a Transgender Child

The NBA star visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show to share his experience raising a teen in the LGBTQ+ community.

Dwyane Wade might be best known for his work on the court, but he's also gaining popularity for being a stellar ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

The NBA star caused a buzz late last year when he began referring to his 12-year-old child with she/her pronouns. During a recent visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show to promote his new ESPN documentary, Wade spoke further about his experience as the father of a transgender teen.

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"Me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we're proud allies as well," Wade explained. "We take our roles and responsibilities as parents very seriously, so when our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything, it's our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information that we can."

Wade explained that when his child—who was assigned male at birth and originally named Zion—decided to go by Zaya and use she/her pronouns, he and Union wanted to do everything they could to educate themselves on transgender identities and gender fluidity. He said Union reached out to the cast of Pose, the FX show that focuses on LGBTQA POC in New York City. "We're just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self," Wade added.

By speaking publicly about Zaya's identity and the experience of parenting a trans child, Wade and Union serve as heartwarming examples of genuine unconditional love. Last year, the American Medical Association referred to violence against transgender people as an "epidemic"; especially in the current climate instilled by an often anti-trans administration. It's worth noting that black trans women are killed at especially alarming rates. Parenting queer and trans children might be confusing and require some adjusting, but Wade is showing the world the difference that a loving heart and s willingness to learn can make.

TV Features

Every Complaint About Javicia Leslie as the First Black Batwoman Is Ridiculous

If you're mad because "Batwoman was never black," there's something you need to know...

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TV's newest incarnation of Batwoman, Ryan Wilder, is Black.

The CW's Batwoman has always had a progressive streak. In the first season, Orange Is the New Black alum Ruby Rose plays Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne's cousin who dons the Batwoman cowl to protect Gotham City. Just like every other superhero show, Kate's romantic life factors into the plot. Unlike the rest, however, Kate is an out lesbian, making her the first leading lesbian superhero in television history.

But after the first season, Ruby Rose announced that she was leaving Batwoman for unspecified reasons, allegedly related to burnout from the ridiculously long work hours required from a superhero series lead. This meant that in order for Batwoman to continue, the CW would need a new star.

Enter Javicia Leslie, former co-star of CBS comedy-drama God Unfriended Me. Prior to Leslie's casting, fans of the show wondered how Batwoman might handle the transition of actresses. Would Kate Kane just look completely different in season 2 with no canonical explanation?

Nope. As it turns out, Javicia Leslie's Batwoman will be an entirely new character: Ryan Wilder.

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CULTURE

"They" Is Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year, So Stop Being a Dick About It

This is a big deal for recognizing nonbinary folks.

"They" is Merriam-Webster's 2019 Word of the Year.

As a singular pronoun, "they" has exponentially risen in popularity over the last few years to refer to nonbinary people—folks who feel neither entirely male nor female. Other neutral pronouns like "ze" and "hir" can also be used, although "they/them" is most widely used among English-speaking communities.

Though so-called grammar purists have dismissed the use of the singular "they" on the basis of clarity, Merriam-Webster (as well as the Oxford English Dictionary) insists that it's totally OK. In September, Merriam-Webster officially added the singular "they," stating: "People have used singular 'they' to describe someone whose gender is unknown for a long time, but the nonbinary use of 'they' is relatively new."


According to Merriam-Webster, lookups for "they" increased by 313 percent in 2019 over the last year. Sure, everyone knows what "they" means in a pretty simple sense, but we still use dictionaries to look up different usages of words and how definitions change over time. A few events in the news this year likely spurred the sharp increase in lookups: Singer Sam Smith and Atypical star Brigette Lundy-Paine both announced they were using they/them pronouns. The American Psychological Association recommended that "writers should use the singular 'they' in two main cases: (a) when referring to a generic person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant to the context and (b) when referring to a specific, known person who uses 'they' as their pronoun." During a House Judiciary meeting in April, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal stated that her child is gender-nonconforming and uses they/them pronouns.

While there's still plenty of work left to do in recognizing and accepting trans and nonbinary folks, "they" being the Word of the Year is a huge start. Though recognizing gender identity outside of the male-female binary might seem a little odd to some—and our current administration continues to pretend like transgender people don't exist—it's crucial that they/them pronouns become normalized, and it's possible to adapt. If "they" can be one of Merriam-Webster's most looked-up words of the past 12 months, it appears that, thankfully, more and more people are getting on board.