"I think going forward I am ready to live my truth," Zaya told the Wades ... adding, "I want to be referenced as 'she' and 'her.' I would love for you guys to call me Zaya."
Wade says the family spent a bunch of time researching and talking to people to try to understand what Zaya was going through -- and it made the family stronger in the long run.
And, with Dwyane working with ESPN on a documentary about his own life, Wade knew he would have to decide whether to include Zaya's gender identity story in the flick ... and it wasn't an easy decision!
"I struggled on how much I wanted to talk about in the doc," Dwyane said ... "I actually didn't talk about it a lot. But, I knew if I put it in the doc at all, it would be a big conversation. "
"Yes, we understand that our daughter's 12 years old. We struggled with what people would say about a 12-year-old making a decision about her life, but we also know our child."
"So we sit back and we say. 'You know what?' As parents, it's our job to sit back and figure out and find the information that we can. And we've sat down together as a family. We've reached out to as many people as we can. We've researched as many things as we can to try to help not only our family but other people in this journey and along the way."