Retired American professional basketball player Dwyane Wade, and three-time NBA champion, has revealed that he and his family have left the state of Florida due to what he says are restrictive policies that infringe on the rights of LGBTQ people.
Wade is a father of four, and in 2020 his 15-year-old daughter, Zaya, came out as transgender.
She has since legally changed her name and gender, with Wade being outspoken in his support of her.
He has spoken about the need to accept and embrace people for who they are, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation and his advocacy for the LGBTQ community has earned him widespread praise and admiration.
During an interview with journalist, host and NBA reporter Rachel Nichols on her show Headliners, Wade explained that he had made a decision on behalf of the family and that he no longer lived in the state, despite being a celebrated figure.
Dwyane Wade, who is a father to a transgender daughter, says he no longer lives in Florida due to what he perceives as restrictive state policies that violate LGBTQ rights
Wade is a father of four, and in 2020 his 15-year-old daughter, Zaya, came out as transgender
The basketball legend stated he had to make family decisions and cited controversial legislation passed by Governor Ron DeSantis as to why he no longer resided in Florida
Zaya legally changed her name and gender, with Wade being outspoken in his support of her
Wade cited controversial legislation passed by Governor Ron DeSantis as to why he no longer resided in Florida
‘You know, obviously, the taxes are great. Having Wade County is great. But my family would not be accepted or feel comfortable there. And, so that’s one of the reasons why I don’t live there,’ he stated.
‘A lot of people don’t know that. I have to make decisions for my family, not just personal, individual decisions.’
Wade explained how specific policies and laws passed by the state of Florida now make it hard for Wade and his family to feel accepted and comfortable in the state.
Only last week educators in all Florida public schools for all grade levels are now banned from teaching students about gender identity and sexual orientation in a sweeping move announced by Ron DeSantis’s board of education.
The move marks a huge expansion of the The Parental Rights in Education law – also dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by critics – which was signed last year by the governor and sparked a firestorm across the country.
Critics of the policy claim it could harm children who identify as gay and transgender.
While the previous version of the law prohibited instruction of these topics to children ages 5 through 8, and the expansion would now apply to students up to the age of 18.
The new rule – which will now apply to grades four to 12 in the state after previously capping at 3rd grade – comes as DeSantis is touring the early primary contest state of South Carolina, where he railed against ‘ woke ‘ issues like transgenderism.
‘It is wrong for a teacher to tell a student that they may have been born in the wrong body or that their gender is a choice,’ DeSantis said during his remarks in Charleston, South Carolina, last Wednesday morning.
‘So we don’t let that happen in Florida,’ he lauded. ‘Disney objects to that, well so be it, we’re going to do that.’
The Parental Rights in Education Act drew national backlash last year. Critics said its language was too broad – leading to concerns teachers would be afraid to teach any sex ed classes – and that it would lead to the marginalization of LGBTQ people.
DeSantis, however, argues that parents, not teachers, should talk to their children about sexual identity and gender identification.
Florida’s Education Department approved a rule on Wednesday that expands Ron DeSantis’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law to include prohibiting the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation in all public school grades
Wade’s legacy in the state is undeniable having played 15 seasons for the Miami Heat helping to win three NBA championships. He also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls during his career.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and state-level lawmakers have passed controversial legislation, including the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, that restrict the rights of LGBTQ individuals.
Last August, Wade filed a petition to allow Zaya to legally change her gender, and name from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade.
Zaya has been going by the name of Zaya for two years.
She has been fully supported by Wade and stepmother Gabrielle Union, 50, who have championed the up-and-coming model ever since she came out as transgender in 2019.
Zaya with older brother Zaire, stepmother Gabrielle Union, father Dwyane and half-sister, three-year-old Kaavia James
Zaya was Zion (far right) until she came out aged 12. She is shown with older brother Zaire and mother Siohvaughn
Siohvaughn and Wade were legally married between 2002 and 2010. They also share older son Zaire, 20, but Wade won full custody of the boys in 2011 after a lengthy court battle
Since coming out as transgender aged 12, Zaya has won modeling contracts with brands like Tiffany. She is shown attending Paris Fashion Week last November
Among Zaya’s new modeling jobs is a contract with Tiffany. She appeared in a recent campaign for the jewelry brand
Zaya’s birth mother Siohvaughn Funches-Wade launched a petition to stop her transgender child from legally changing her name and gender claiming that the child was being pressured financially to make the decision.
That petition failed after Wade, Funches-Wade’s ex-husband, argued in court that he had the ‘full authority’ to ‘make decisions on behalf’ of Zaya when he was awarded custody of his two children in 2011 after they divorced.
Wade first revealed that Zaya was transgender to the public in February 2020; she has since launched a major career for herself as a model and has become a budding social media star – gaining more than 603,000 followers on her Instagram account.
Wade explained that Zaya later told him and Union that she knew was transgender since she was three years old, but that it took years of doing ‘research’ for her to be able to voice it to her loved ones.
Championing their daughter: Dwyane Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union accepted the President’s Award for their support of the LGBTQ+ community in February
Zaya was later seen in a chic blazer and Prada loafers at the Miu Miu show afterparty in March
The up-and-coming fashion model – who was granted a legal name and gender change is pictured at the Paris Fashion Show last year
In an interview with People, he said Zaya’s transition gave him ‘hope’. He first spoke of her transition in 2019 on Matt Barnes’ podcast, All The Smoke.
‘I had to look myself in the mirror. When my son at the time was three years old and me and my wife start having conversations about us noticing that he wasn’t on the boy vibe that [older brother] Zaire was on.
‘I had to look myself in the mirror and say ‘what if your son comes home and tells you he’s gay?’ What are you going to do?
‘You’re going to talk about strength and courage. My 12 year old has way more than I have. You can learn something from your kids. In our household, that’s all we talk about. We talk about making sure our kids be seen by each of us. We want them to be whoever they feel they can be in this world. That’s our goal.
‘I watched my son, from day one, become into who she now eventually has come into.
‘And for me, it’s all about: Nothing changes with my love. Nothing changes in my responsibilities. So, all I had to do now is get smarter, educate myself more. And that’s my job,’ he said.
Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade, and Gabrielle Union were snapped in LA in November 2021
Dwyane has spoken openly and frequently about his daughter’s transition and is now an LGBTQ advocate. He is shown on Ellen, describing how Zaya came out to the family
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