Dwyane Wade—member of the iconic Miami Heat championship teams who is set to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year—no longer lives in Florida because the state is targeting trans people, among others.
“That’s another reason I don’t live in the state. 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,” Wade said in a new interview on Showtime’s Headliners, referencing the nickname given to Miami-Dade County during his Heat tenure. “But my family would not be accepted or feel comfortable there. So that’s one of the reasons why I don’t live there.”
Wade, along with his wife Gabrielle Union, has been a vocal supporter of their daughter Zaya, who is 15. Zaya publicly announced her transition in 2020 and legally changed her name in February. (Wade’s ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, Zaya’s mother, fought the change in court.)
Despite that internal support system, Wade said his family had to leave Florida; they sold their Miami mansion for $22 million in 2021. Florida has become a pressure cooker for anti-gay and anti-trans legislation, so much so that last month, Equality Florida, a pro-LGBTQ advocacy group, issued a travel advisory warning for the state. The organization called the advisory “unprecedented” but said anti-LGBTQ policies, anti-gun safety laws, and anti-abortion policies demanded a response.
In the interview, Wade said he never thought of being anything less than supportive of his children. “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,” Wade said through tears. “I don’t know no different. 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.”
The increasing pace of anti-trans legislation is horrifying, Wade said, comparing it to the decades when there were absolutely no legal rights for LGBTQ people. “I hate that we’re taking so many steps backward,” he said.
Wade and Union have been beacons as celebrities with massive reach across multiple industries. But you don’t need a trans kid to be publicly supportive of trans people, to educate yourself on the violence facing trans people, and to be the one to take on these conversations.