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Dwyane Wade explains why he puts his family first when making important decisions

Dwayne Wade spoke to Rachel Nichols on her Showtime series 'Headliners' about restrictive laws that negatively affect the LGBTQ+ community.

Dwyane Wade explains why he puts his family first when making important decisions
Cover Image Source: Dwyane Wade attends the 2022 TIME100 Gala on June 08, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME)

Dwayne Wade is doing everything he can to protect his family. Speaking to Rachel Nichols on her Showtime series "Headliners" this month, the former NBA player revealed that restrictive laws that negatively affect the LGBTQ+ community—which includes his 15-year-old transgender daughter, Zaya—were the deciding factor to leave the state. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wade has been a staunch LGBTQ rights supporter following his daughter Zaya's coming out as transgender in 2020. 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16:(L-R) Zaya Wade, Gabrielle Union, Kaavia James Union Wade and Dwyane Wade attend the World Premiere of
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16:(L-R) Zaya Wade, Gabrielle Union, Kaavia James Union Wade and Dwyane Wade attend the World Premiere of "Cheaper By the Dozen" at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 16, 2022. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

“That’s another reason why I don’t live in that state,” he told Nichols. “A lot of people don’t know that. I have to make decisions for my family, not just personal, individual decisions. Obviously, the taxes is 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.”

The three-time NBA champion and his wife, Gabrielle Union-Wade, lauded Zaya for her strength and determination while accepting the President’s Award at the 2023 NAACP Awards. “I’ve sat back and watched how gracefully you have taken on the public scrutiny,” Wade said to his daughter. “And even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of the house every morning as yourself. I admire how you handle the ignorance in our world... that you face every day.”



 

The couple also highlighted the importance of using their platforms to share the resources and access they have been given. “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,” Union-Wade said in their acceptance speech. “Black trans people are being targeted, terrorized and hunted in this country, every day, everywhere. And there’s rarely a whisper about it.”

Wade also discussed families evolving with their LGBTQ loved ones. “As the world grows, more information is out there, more exposure and experience is out there. We shouldn’t stay where we are,” he said on the red carpet. “We should always want to move forward. I don’t like the conversation of closing a book on a community. I don’t understand how that is reasonable as a human being.”



 

According to Entertainment Tonight, Wade is a strong advocate of LGBTQ rights and does not hold back from criticizing politicians who have passed laws denying trans youth access to gender-affirming medical care and blocking trans athletes from competing in gender-specific school sports. 



 

In August 2022, Wade filed a petition on his daughter's behalf to legally change Zaya's name and gender. After the teen's mother filed an objection in court, Wade responded in court saying, "Zaya should not be forced to put her life on hold while she waits for Siohvaughn [Funches-Wade] to acknowledge and accept her truth." In February, a Los Angeles judge granted her request for an official name and gender change. Prior to this, Wade had said at the TIME 100 summit in June 2022 that he fears for Zaya's safety whenever she leaves the house. "As blessed as it is for my daughter to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves the house," Dwyane told CNN at the time. "And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world."

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