Who Is Zaya Wade?
Zaya Wade is the elder daughter of retired basketball star Dwyane Wade. Her stepmother is actress Gabrielle Union. At 12, Zaya told her parents she was a trans girl, something her father believes she had known since she was 3. To enable Zaya to live as her true self, she and her family publicly shared her gender in February 2020. The following month, Zaya made a red carpet appearance with Dwayne and Union. Since then she has been recognized as a prominent younger member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Early Life and Parents
Zaya Wade was born on May 29, 2007. Zaya is the second child of former Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade and Siohvaughn Funches. Following Dwyane’s divorce from Funches, he obtained full custody of Zaya and her older brother, Zaire Blessing Dwyane.
Zaya’s stepmother is actress Gabrielle Union, who married Dwyane in 2014. Union and Dwyane had Zaya’s younger sister, Kaavia James, via surrogate in 2018. Zaya has a younger brother, Xavier Zechariah, who Dwyane fathered in a previous relationship. Her father is also the guardian of Dahveon Morris, Zaya’s cousin.
Zaya prompted Dwyane and Union to learn more about the transgender community, an effort that included talking to the cast of Pose. “We just tried to figure out as much information as we can to make sure we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self.”
When Zaya was 8, she told her family she was gay. At the time her loved ones hesitated to reveal this due to concerns about a negative response. “When you’re in the public eye, it gets nasty,” Dwyane explained. “My child was 8 years old when she came out. She wasn’t ready for what the world had to say.”
As Zaya grew older, her understanding of herself deepened, and at 12 she said she wanted to go by Zaya and use she/her pronouns. Her father has shared, “She was the one who sat down with us as a family and said, ‘Hey, I don’t think I’m gay.’ And she went down the list and said, ‘This is how I identify myself. This is my gender identity. I identify myself as a young lady. I think I’m a straight trans because I like boys.'” Zaya wanted to be able to live as her true self — but that meant being public about her gender.