GABRIELLE UNION AND DWYANE WADE CELEBRATE TRANS DAUGHTER ZAYA’S SWEET 16
On Tuesday, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade took to Instagram to honor their trans daughter Zaya on her sweet 16. The couple shared a collection of photographs that showed some milestones from Zaya’s life this past year, including her winter formal and her runway debut for Miu Miu during Paris Fashion Week. Wade and Union recently left Florida due to the state’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies. In February, they accepted the prestigious President’s Award for their support of the LGBTQ+ community at the NAACP Image Awards. Zaya herself also shared a message on Instagram, expressing her gratitude for all the love.
Wade explained that he had to leave Florida because his family would not be accepted or feel comfortable there. He and Union have been strong advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and have been openly supportive of their daughter’s journey. Wade filed a petition in August to allow Zaya to legally change her gender, and name from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade. Zaya has been going by the name Zaya for two years.
Zaya’s birth mother Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, who was married to Dwyane from 2002 to 2007, filed a petition opposing the name and gender change, claiming that Wade was pressuring their daughter to capitalize on the financial opportunities associated with the issue. Wade denied her claims, accusing her of hurting their children. In February, Zaya was granted permission to change her name and gender.
Throughout Zaya’s journey, Wade and Union have been supportive and proud of their daughter. Wade praised Zaya’s grace in handling public scrutiny and addressed her from the stage when accepting the President’s Award for their support of the LGBTQ+ community. Zaya has become a social media star and a model, gaining over 603,000 followers on Instagram.
The family’s journey has been peppered with challenges, including opposition from Zaya’s birth mother. However, Wade and Union’s unwavering support of their daughter and the LGBTQ+ community has been an inspiration to many.