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Dwyane Wade says he and Gabrielle Union left Florida for the safety of their family

As a father of a daughter who is transgender, the athlete took issue with the state's politics.
/ Source: TODAY

Dwyane Wade revealed that he and wife Gabrielle Union relocated from Florida to California “for a lot of reasons,” one of them, he said, was the need to have his 15-year-old daughter, Zaya, who is transgender, grow up in a safer community.

Wade lived in Florida while playing for the Miami Heat, first from 2003 to 2016, and returning for his final season in 2018 to 2019.

“One of our decisions was what was going to be the safest and best community for our daughter, Zaya” the former athlete told Variety at the 2023 Met Gala, adding that Los Angeles was where they settled.

He added that while he loves Miami, its people and that the city “has done so much for me,” he’s taken issue with the laws and politics of the state.

“But the last couple of years, the laws, the politics, you know, has really become this big conversation, right? It’s unsafe conversation, and it’s unsafe for my daughter, it’s unsafe for the young kids and the youth and adults, the elder in the trans community,” Wade said. “And so for us, as much as I love that city, as much as I’m always going to be a part of it, for the safety of my family, that’s what it was. I couldn’t move back.”

Zaya Wade, Gabrielle Union, Kaavia Union Wade and Dwyane Wade at the "Cheaper By the Dozen" premiere at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 16, 2022.
Zaya Wade, Gabrielle Union, Kaavia Union Wade and Dwyane Wade at the "Cheaper By the Dozen" premiere at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 16, 2022.Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney

Last year, what critics have called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill was signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, forbidding instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

In March, Florida became the eighth state to restrict transition-related medical care for minors, according to NBC News. The Florida Board of Medicine implemented a rule that prohibits all minors from receiving gender-affirming operations.

On May 3, Florida also approved bills to ban diversity programs in colleges, per The Associated Press, and prevent students and teachers from being required to use pronouns that don’t correspond to someone’s biological sex.

Reps for Gov. DeSantis did not immediately respond to TODAY.com's request for comment.

Wade sent a message to “all the kids in South Florida” about speaking out against the anti-LGBTQ+ politics.

“From someone that you guys watch play, we will always continue to speak out, speak up. We continue to stand with this community because this community is for us, is with us,” Wade said. “It is our community because of our daughter, Zaya Wade, and so we appreciate you guys just standing strong. And we just got to continue to keep believing, continue to keep fighting for what’s right.”

Wade, who also noted that he left the city to support his wife’s career in Los Angeles, is also father to sons Zaire, 21, and Xavier, 9. He and Union also share 4-year-old daughter Kaavia.

Zaya came out as transgender in 2020. After a legal battle between Wade and Zaya’s mom, ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches, the 15-year-old model was granted an official name and gender change in February.