Dwyane Wade at NY: Time 100 Gala

Dwyane Wade's Decision To Leave Florida Was Inspired By His Family

Home / Stars / Dwyane Wade's Decision To Leave Florida Was Inspired By His Family

By Afouda Bamidele on April 29, 2023 at 3:00 AM EDT

Dwyane Wade has opened up about how his family influenced his decision to change their living arrangements.

The basketball legend, whose daughter Zaya came out as transgender in 2020, shared that his family relocated from Florida to avoid dealing with its restrictive policies that infringed on LGBTQ rights. The NBA champion welcomed the teen with his first wife — and high school sweetheart — Siohvaughn Funches in 2007.

Article continues below advertisement

Dwyane Wade Addressed His Reason For Leaving Florida Despite Being A Celebrated Figure

Wade has continued to prove that he deserves the "Daddy of the Year" award for making decisions that make his family happier. In a clip exclusively shared with PEOPLE, the doting dad is seen talking to Rachel Nichols for the Thursday episode of her show, "Headliners."

Answering the veteran journalist's question about the Florida politicians who actively worked against LGBTQ rights while claiming to be his fans, the former Miami Heat player stated

"That's another reason why I don't live in that state. A lot of people don't know that. I have to make decisions for my family, not just personal, individual decisions."

Article continues below advertisement
Gabrielle Union's post on her Instagram page
Instagram | Gabrielle Union
Article continues below advertisement

The retired athlete pointed out that even though "having Wade County is great," it meant nothing since his family "would not be accepted or feel comfortable there." Just last week, the board of education banned Florida public school educators for all grade levels from teaching their students about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Thus, Wade's relocation from the state to protect his daughter, whose petition to change her name and gender legally was approved this year, could not have come at a better time.

Article continues below advertisement

Aside from leaving the state he called home, the father-of-one also supported his baby girl when he appeared at her runway debut alongside his wife, Gabrielle Union. The couple, who could not hide their pride, was front and center at the Miu Miu fall/winter show during the 2023 Paris Fashion Week last month.

Per The Blast, Zaya achieved the feat in a short olive green dress, a matching jacket, and a brown handbag. The upcoming model confidently moved from one end of the catwalk to the other, as seen in a clip shared in a joint Instagram post from her father and stepmother.

Article continues below advertisement

That video quickly became the topic of discussion, with several celebs, including Viola Davis and Gigi Hadid, dropping sweet emojis in the comment section. Fans also reacted as one gushed, "So thankful to both of you for being supportive and loving to your daughter. I am so proud watching her too!"

A second person claimed, "Every child deserves this kind of unconditional love and support," and a third acknowledged, "If "we ARE the proud parents" was a person people? It would be the Union-Wade Family. Zaya is gorgeous and killed that runway."

The Dazed Front Cover Star Legally Changed Her Name This Year

Dwyane Wade & Gabrielle Union Are Every Bit Proud Parents As Zaya Walks At PFW
Instagram | Gabrielle Union

Regarding Zaya's legal change of name and gender, The Blast confirmed that the docs, filed last August, were signed in February 2023. According to the papers obtained:

"The Petition for Recognition of Minor's Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate filed by Zion Malachi Airamis Wade, by and through gal, Dwyane T. Wade, Jr. on 08/22/2022 is Granted in Part."

"Decree is signed and filed. The Petitioner's name is changed from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade. The gender of the Petitioner is changed from male to female," it continued.

Article continues below advertisement

While the news undoubtedly uplifted the family's mood, it was not an easy feat to achieve as Funches initially filed an objection to the name and gender change. Her filing noted the possibility that her ex-husband "may be pressuring" their child to go through the process.

She argued that Wade violated the parental consultation rule, stating that he "shall discuss with and obtain input in the major decisions" affecting their children's "care, welfare, activities, health, education, and religious upbringing" before such decisions get finalized.

The 41-year-old also stated that the court's decision to grant the request "to change the minor child's name and gender" was hinged on "multiple factors," noting, "The minor child is fifteen and one-half years old." Funches further stated:

"[Wade] is positioned to profit from the minor child's name and gender change with various companies through contacts and marketing opportunities including but not limited to deals with Disney."

Wade has since dismissed his ex-wife's allegations, calling them "harmful" in a social media post.

Article continues below advertisement