Updated: Mar 4, 2020
What is transgender? Wikipedia defines transgender as: “Transgender people have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their sex assigned at birth. Some transgender people who desire medical assistance to transition from one sex to another identify as transsexual.”
Being transgender is a topic that is gaining momentum in our world as people become more open and accepting. One example of an open and accepting person is Dwayne Wade. Dwayne Wade, a 38 year old retired NBA star, has a child named Zaya with wife Gabrielle Union. Zaya, 12, came out as transgender recently, and Dwayne could not be more accepting and loving. Zaya has known since she was only 3 that she was transgender, but only recently “came out.”
Wade and Union began doing research about the LGBTQ community, and what it meant to raise a transgender child. They are very supportive of her, and Wade even went on Ellen to open up about Zaya’s story, in the hopes that it would shed light on this issue.
Wade said in an interview: "We know there's other families out there dealing with their kid finding themselves and learning who they are. I'm not going to sit here and act like we have all the answers. I'm not going to sit here and act like before our child came home and sat us down, that we weren't ignorant parents when it comes to the world. When I say we're learning from our 12-year-old, we're literally learning from our child.”
His openness and willingness to learn from his child is something all parents should aspire to, especially in situations like this.
Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with his decision, including rapper Torrence Hatch Jr. better known as “Lil Boosie,” who spoke out against Wade and daughter Zaya in a hateful rant.
Hatch said, in an instagram video: “I gotta say something about this s—, bro,” Dwyane Wade, you gone too f—— far, dawg. That is a male, a 12-year-old. At 12, they don’t even know what they next meal gonna be. They don’t have s— figured out yet. He might meet a woman, anything, at 16 and fall in love with her. But his d— gonna be gone.”
Hatch seemed to be confusing gender identity with sexuality. This claim about Zaya is wrong, by the way, as nowhere in the USA do they perform surgical procedures related to gender affirmation on a minor. The most they’ll do for someone under 18 is puberty blocking medication, which keeps their body from developing further on their assigned sex. Those medications are also reversible.
‘Don’t cut his d— off, bruh,” Hatch also said. “If he gonna be gay, let him be gay. But don’t cut his d— off, bruh. Don’t address him as a woman, dawg. He’s 12 years old. He’s not up there yet. He hasn’t made his final decisions yet. Don’t cut his f—— d— off, Dwyane Wade, bruh. You f—— tripping, dawg.”
This sort of hateful intolerance and lack of knowledge is the true issue here. We need more people like Dwayne Wade and less people like Lil Boosie, in this author’s opinion. It’s a question of human rights and the ability to choose.
I talked to some people, and the divide on this issue is frightening. There is a lot that isn’t known. Being transgender doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll undergo surgery to become the gender you identify with. “The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found 61 percent of trans and gender nonconforming respondents reported having medically transitioned, and 33 percent said they had surgically transitioned. About 14 percent of trans women and 72 percent of trans men said they don’t ever want full genital construction surgery.”
Many transgender people just want the opportunity to be addressed with proper pronouns and to be thought of as the gender they identify with.
Alarmingly, many transgender people face discrimination in many aspects of their lives, even in the medical field. “In a survey, 19 percent of trans and gender nonconforming people said they were refused care because of their gender identity or expression, 28 percent of trans and gender nonconforming respondents said they were subjected to harassment in medical settings, and 2 percent said they experienced violence. This led to delays in care for many people: 28 percent said they postponed medical care when sick or injured due to discrimination.” In 2016, Obama clarified that regulations prohibited this type of discrimination, making it illegal. It’s a small step, but a step nonetheless.
So what more can we do? We can be more open and aware, we can educate ourselves and others, and we can stop silencing these individuals voices. People like Wade and daughter Zaya are helping, because they are in the public eye and can be used as an example of what to do. We need more acceptance, and less hate. How would you feel if you woke up in your skin, and felt it was the wrong one? How lost and isolated and scary must it be? We have to stop punishing people for what we feel is different and instead recognize them and love them for it. Don’t ever stop being an advocate, even if it doesn’t impact your life personally. Everyone deserves the right to choose how they want to live and be seen. We need to all be more like Wade, and less like Boosie.
Image By: Sharon McCutcheon