Parents are put in a hard spot when a child comes out as trans, leaving them basically two options: reinforce the new identity or wait and see. Watchful waiting allows a child to experiment with gender expression without committing to a course of action, but full steam ahead is the going trend. It shouldn’t be.
While many families go through this quietly, struggling to figure out the best response in this rapidly changing climate, basketball star Dwyane Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, stepped into the spotlight to publicly back their newly trans child. Zion had first come out as gay, but at 12 years old, he then came out as trans, asking to be called Zaya.
According to Wade, Zaya was insistent on being trans. “I don’t think I’m gay,” Wade recalled Zaya saying. “This is how I identify myself. This is my gender identity. I identify as a young lady. I think I’m a straight trans (girl) because I like boys.” Ten years ago, Zion would have just been gay, period.
A future as a lifelong medical patient is not a decision a child should be allowed to make at 12 years old, and certainly not in the public eye. Speaking on “Ellen,” Wade recounted he and Union instantly accepted Zion’s assessment and became open advocates of the trans cause.
They began to use the new name, Zaya, and decided they would trust their 12-year-old to guide them, as opposed to leading as parents. Union reached out to trans celebrities for guidance on how best to reinforce their child’s new identity. Zaya quickly became a celeb as well and was recently met with wild applause and cheers when featured on the Jumbotron at the Heat’s American Airlines Arena.
Being public about Zaya’s transition is a strange decision. Wade and Union’s reasoning for their outspokenness is that they are attempting to create a safe space in society for their beloved child. They want to diminish Zaya’s social struggles as much as possible.
Parents and Celebrities Deferring to Kids
Wade’s appearance on “Ellen” was in service to that. Ellen DeGeneres is an out lesbian and has been since the 1990s. Given her perspective on the importance of accepting and integrating gays and lesbians in society at large, it’s odd she would celebrate when a 12-year-old who has proclaimed his same-sex attraction switches to believing he is a straight member of the opposite sex. In fact, advocates for same-sex-attracted people are concerned that the push for transgenderism is erasing homosexuality.
Instead of questioning a child who comes to believe his body is wrong, the trend is simply to believe them. Gay and lesbian celebrities, politicians, neighbors, friends, and family members make it easier for people to relinquish prejudice, and trans is lumped in with homosexuality.
It is, however, a completely different thing. While the movement for gay rights emphasized the lack of difference between straight and gay people, trans treats the born body as an illness that must be cured. Ellen doesn’t seem aware of that.
“I think it’s what every parent should be is what you’re being right now,” DeGeneres said in praise of Wade. “Which is unconditionally loving your child and supporting your child whoever they are. There are so many parents that are just, ‘You’re not going the way I imagined or wanted you to be,’ and freak out. And you’re so loving and supportive of Zaya and what a special child she is.”
“Yes, she is. Thank you so much for that,” Wade replied. “First of all, me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBT-plus community, and we’re proud allies as well. And we take our responsibilities as parents very seriously. So when a child comes home with a question … when a child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can, and that doesn’t change because sexuality is now evolving.”
Wade talks about the moment his child came home and said, “I’m ready to live my truth,” asking for a name change from Zion to Zaya and to be referred to with female pronouns. Wade and Union felt it was their job to learn about transgenderism and reached out to famous trans people, such as actors from the show “Pose.” They feel that 12-year-old Zaya is their leader in this, and they defer to Zaya’s judgement, which seems to conflict with Wade’s idea of giving his child “the best information” he can.
How Does One Reconcile Gay and Straight with Trans?
According to the National LGBTQ Task Force, “most transgender people also identify on the queer sexual orientation spectrum.” But digging into this assertion reveals something rather surprising: 77 percent of respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey said their sexual orientation was something other than straight, leaving 23 percent of respondents identifying as straight. However, these definitions have been remade to suit gender ideology.
A male-bodied person who identifies as female and is attracted to men is considered straight for the purposes of this study, as is a female-bodied person who identifies as male and is attracted to women. By commonly used terms from a mere 10 years ago, this 23 percent of respondents would be considered same-sex attracted. The 77 percent of respondents who identify as not straight claimed their sexuality to be gay, lesbian, or same-gender loving (23 percent), bisexual (25 percent), asexual (4 percent), queer (23 percent), and other (2 percent).
Zaya would belong to the 23 percent of trans people who identify as straight, meaning Zaya is a same-sex-attracted person, otherwise known as gay. Lesbian and gay activists who oppose trans ideology on the basis that it erases homosexuality are not wrong. This is the case of a child who finds it more palatable to present as the opposite sex than to be gay.
This is also the case in restrictive cultures, wherein gay people are considered a problem, but trans people are accepted. This is because trans offers a “cure” for homosexuality, a way to turn a gay person straight.
In Iran, for example, it’s much more acceptable to be trans than gay. A majority of the Iranian ladies’ soccer team players are actually transitioned males. In fact, for an Iranian regime that has notoriously claimed homosexuality does not exist in the country, determining that gay people are trans is a way to “cleanse the country of homosexuality.” Iran is the second-leading country in the world for trans surgeries after Thailand, where people go as trans surgical tourists.
It is easy to see how a government that despises the alternative sexual lifestyle of homosexuality could embrace transgenderism, which is considered a fixable, curable disorder. Once patients are “fixed,” they can live in the stereotypical gender roles of the opposite sex. For the Iranian regime, trans reinforces the gender binary upon which their society is based.
Protect Children from Trans ‘Cures’
What if some kids who present as trans are actually gay but feel that trans is more socially acceptable? This is the contention of some lesbian, gay, and bisexual advocates, who are concerned that the emergence of trans identity is an erasure of same-sex-attracted identity. A big difference between the way trans and same-sex attraction are discussed in culture is that transgenderism has a cure, a pathway, a prescription for a child. Change the child’s name to one associated with the opposite sex, and socially transition in behavior and dress at school, home, and in public.
When the time is appropriate, begin a drug regimen to prevent the child’s body from going through puberty as his or her biological sex, and administer hormones that will alter the child’s body chemistry to give the appearance of opposite-sex traits. Finally, undertake surgeries to alter the body’s look. For boys, this means castration and vaginoplasties, and for girls, mastectomies and phalloplasties.
Once that’s all complete, voila, the trans child is cured and has become a lifelong medical patient, but is no longer suffering from dysphoria. Remaking their bodies to match their minds is conceived of as a cure.
Conversely, homosexuality has no cure. In many states, conversion therapy is illegal, yet therapy to convert a boy to a girl is not. Many LGB advocates find this confusing, raising the question of how LGB and T advocates can be considered part of the same movement.
The gay rights movement was about accepting a person with divergent sexuality. Trans rights are not about accepting people as they are, but sculpting them anew out of their own flesh. Parents must stop deferring to children who complain their brain is in the wrong body. Parents like Wade and Union should be guiding their children, not the other way around.