Taking a break from rocking the red carpet at the Met Gala with wife Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade spoke out about protecting his daughter Zaya, 15, and advocating for the whole transgender community. His impassioned speech shows (once again!) just want a caring dad — and all around good guy — he is.
The former Miami Heat basketball star told Variety that he left Florida “to support my wife in LA and her career.” He added, “One of our decisions was, what is going to be the safest and best community for our daughter, Zaya.”
Dwyane Wade Said He Is Focusing ‘on Acceptance’
“I love Miami,” Wade said in his interview with Variety. “Miami has done so much for me—Florida has done so much for me. … But the last couple years, the laws, the politics has really become this big conversation. This unsafe conversation. And it’s unsafe for my daughter, it’s unsafe for all the young kids, and the youth and the adults and the elderly in the trans community. And so for us, as much as I love that city and as much as I’m always going to be a part of it … for the safety of my family, that’s what it was for me. I couldn’t move back.”
States across the country are targeting the transgender community and gender affirming care for kids. The ACLU is tracking 471 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in legislatures across the U.S. Ten of these are in Florida, led by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Last March, DeSantis passed the “Don’t Say Gay” law (officially the Parental Rights in Education Act), which prohibits public school personnel and third parties from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in any capacity. Teachers can be sued by parents in the school district at risk of losing their teaching licenses if found to violate the rules. Right now, they only apply to grades K-3, but now DeSantis is moving to expand the law to apply to grades 4-12 as well.
This is just one of the many ways DeSantis is targeting transgender youth, and therefore, why Wade and Union don’t feel safe living in the Sunshine State anymore.
Dwyane Wade & Gabrielle Union Spoke up for LGBTQ Rights at the NAACP Image Awards
In Feb. 2023, Union and Wade were honored with the President’s Awards at the NAACP Image Awards, one day after their daughter Zaya’s name change and the changes of sex markers on her legal documents was legally approved.
“I’ve sat back and watched how gracefully you have taken on the public scrutiny,” Wade told his daughter in his acceptance speech. “And even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of that house every morning as yourself. I admire how you’ve handled the ignorance in our world. I admire that you face every day. To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement.”
In her statement, Union said, “First, the intersection of Black rights and the rights of the LGBTQIA, trans, and gender non-conforming people continues to be a huge understatement, even as we demand equality at the top of our lungs. We consistently fail to extend our advocacy to protect some of our most vulnerable among us.”
She continued, “And second, Black trans people are being targeted, terrorized and hunted in this country. Every day, everywhere. And there’s rarely a whisper about.”
Union also encouraged families to have conversations about LGBTQ rights in a way that “builds bridges” and “That don’t drive more young people to hate themselves or harm themselves. That don’t cost people their lives.”
Dwyane Wade Encourages the Transgender Community to ‘Keep Believing’ & ‘Keep Fighting’
In his red carpet interview with Variety at the Met Gala, Wade said “the work don’t stop.” He had a special message for all the kids in south Florida: “We will always continue to speak out, to speak up. We continue to stand with this community because this community is for us, is with us. It is our community because of our daughter, Zaya Wade.”
“We appreciate you guys for standing strong,” Wade added. “And we gotta just keep believing and keep fighting for what’s right.”
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