Retired NBA champ Dwyane Wade was a guest speaker at the TIME100 Summit 2022, held on Tuesday at NYC’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, and he talked with journalist Poppy Harlow about the fears he harbors for his 15-year-old transgender daughter Zaya. Two years ago, Zaya came out to the world, and the announcement was generally well-received. But her father is also aware that not everyone in the world will be as welcoming of Zaya.
“As blessed as it is for my daughter to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves our house,” Wade said. “And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world.” He then segued into the rise in anti-trans sports bills in America and decried the ignorance of U.S. lawmakers on such matters. “This is our life. We live this,” Wade later added. “When you’re out there making rules, and if you’re not experiencing this and you’re not living this, and you’re just out there signing away and making laws, that’s not right.”
Prior to being on stage that evening, Wade wanted to issue a message of support to youth facing harassment and discrimination because of their sexuality. “I want to tell them I love them,” he said on the TIME100 Summit red carpet. “I’m proud of them. Continue to be who you are. Don’t let anybody tell you who you are. I knew what I wanted to do when I was young, so no one needs to tell you.”
Multiple states have passed bills to prevent transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports. The list of those states currently includes Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, and the count seems to be rising.
In fact, Ohio lawmakers are mulling over an anti-transgender sports bill that would permit genital inspections on athletes suspected of being transgender. Some are touting the consideration as a fight for protecting women’s rights.
But one of the movement’s most vocal supporters has been rightwing pundit Candace Owens. She even directly called out Dwyane Wade about his daughter’s gender identity. “You’re not going to tell me that your child is wearing long nine-inch nails and a belly shirt because that’s just how they came out,” Owens said on her podcast this past August. She later added, “Your child learned this behavior because there was an absence of masculinity in that child’s life, and that makes sense for a basketball player.”
The 33-year-old conservative commentator further expanded her position in March when she visited Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight. Owens was asked her thoughts about Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levin, who is openly transgender, being nominated by USA Today for its “Women of the Year Award” in 2022.
‘What’s a woman? I’m confused,” Owens began. “I don’t know what a woman is anymore. It is funny and pointedly ridiculous. It gets back to what I always say about progressives which is that they’re always so progressive that they are actually just regressive, right?”
“It’s the same with feminism,” she continued. “With early feminism, we were trying to create a space for women that was separate from men. We wanted women’s sports and for them to compete differently. We have women that train all the way from the time that they’re kids up through college to try to compete against other women. Now you can throw on a wig and say, ‘Actually, I am a woman too!’ and you can crush all of their records because it is so progressive it is actually regressive — or actually erasing women!”