LGBTQ+ ally and advocate and former NBA player Dwyane Wade says part of the reason he and his family no longer call Florida home is that the state is not a welcoming place for families like his.
Wade and spouse Gabrielle Union have been fierce champions of Wade’s transgender daughter Zaya since the teen came out in 2020, speaking out publicly in support of trans rights as the community has come under relentless attack from right-wing media and Republican politicians across the country. The situation in Florida has been particularly dire, with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signing the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law last year and Republican lawmakers passing bills that would outlaw gender-affirming care for minors and ban drag performances in public spaces.
On Thursday’s episode of Showtime’s Headliners with Rachel Nichols, the host asked the retired Miami Heat champ what he would say to Florida’s anti-LGBTQ+ legislators.
“That’s another reason why I don’t live in that state,” Wade said. “A lot of people don’t know that. I have to make decisions for my family, not just personal, individual decisions.”
Wade and Union moved their family to California in 2019 and reportedly sold their Miami Beach home in 2021. Back in 2010, Miami-Dade County commissioners honored Wade by temporarily renaming the county “Miami-Wade County.”
“I mean, obviously, the tax [situation in Florida] is great. Having Wade County is great,” the former NBA star told Nichols. “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.”
Wade went on to credit his own father for providing the example on which he’s based his own parenting style. “I tell my dad all the time, I’m just a mirror image of the way he loved us and the way that he accepted not only myself and my brothers but other kids in the community that didn’t have father figures,” he said.
“And so I don’t know any difference. And so yes, I had to educate myself and yes, I had to get a better understanding. And yes, I had to lose some friends along the process, but I never wavered on loving my kids and trying to find space to get the chance to understand them.”