A+ Parenting

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union-Wade Have Seen Zaya Flourish Since Leaving Florida

It’s been a few years since Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union left Florida to ensure a better life for their kids, particularly their trans daughter Zaya, and despite a daunting transition, the family is thriving. Their youngest child, Kaavia, is just getting ready to start school, and Zaya recently embarked on a modeling career. In a new interview with Parents Magazine, Wade and Union reflected on how their life has changed for the better since leaving one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ states in the nation behind.

For much of his sixteen-year career in the NBA, Wade was a star player for the Miami Heat, winning three NBA championships. After so long in Florida, he didn’t take the decision to leave lightly. But for Wade, family comes first.

“There are a lot of reasons we decided California was best for our family and finding a community for Zaya was a big part of that,” said Wade. “We felt that California was a place that would allow her to blossom and grow. She’s going to be a junior in high school now and she’s been able to be accepted and become [herself] here.”

In some ways, the decision to move was much easier than it would be for other families. Union acknowledged the fact that many people do not have the means to just pick up and leave, and because of that, she feels a responsibility to use their family’s platform to advocate for others.

“When you have the kind of rhetoric that is being espoused in Florida and adopted into law, that’s not an option if my child isn’t safe there,” said Union. “We have family and friends who don’t have the privilege of moving. So we are going to be fighting till we are out of breath to protect all kids who are oppressed. That is our responsibility as people with large platforms and as people who folks trust, and they trust us because we say the hard thing.”

The parents have been vocal advocates for Zaya ever since she came out as trans in 2020. Earlier this year, during a speech accepting the NAACP Image Awards, Union and Wade demonstrated how to use their platform, calling on viewers to support the LGBQ+ community.

In their private life, away from the politicizing rhetoric in Florida, the family gets to just be a family. For Wade, his greatest joy in raising Zaya has been watching her blossom into who she is. “Zaya has been living with us since she was three,” he said, “and my daughter can walk down a runway in Paris for the first time with all the confidence in the world because we’ve been cheering for her since then.

“Even now, I’ll lay across her bed and listen to her talk about the community she’s part of for two to three hours.”

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