Gabrielle Union Says Her Family Left Florida Because Daughter Zaya “Isn’t Safe There”

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When it comes to protecting their children, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade should win a parenting award. Whether it’s outspokenly supporting daughter Zaya Wade’s transition or teaching their youngest, Kaavia, the value of positive affirmations, the couple continue to promote self-love and prioritize mental health above all. And recently, that’s included making the decision to leave their home in Florida amid increasing anti-LGBT+ rhetoric in the state.

In Parents’s first-ever digital issue, Wade and Union opened up about relocating to California in 2020 to provide Zaya with a safer environment to grow up in. “There are a lot of reasons we decided California was best for our family and finding a community for Zaya was a big part of that,” Wade said. “We felt that California was a place that would allow her to blossom and grow. She’s going to be a junior in high school now and she’s been able to be accepted and become her here.”

“[W]e are going to be fighting till we are out of breath to protect all kids who are oppressed.”

Over the past few years, the state of Florida, led by Governor Ron DeSantis, has passed a series of anti-LGBT+ bills – from limiting the use of preferred pronouns in public school classrooms to forcing trans people to use certain bathrooms. The conservative politician also expanded the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in public school classrooms of all grade levels. “When you have the kind of rhetoric that is being espoused in Florida and adopted into law, that’s not an option if my child isn’t safe there,” Union told Parents.

Union also emphasized her family’s commitment to fighting against the hate speech and legislation being adopted throughout the state. “We have family and friends who don’t have the privilege of moving. So we are going to be fighting till we are out of breath to protect all kids who are oppressed. That is our responsibility as people with large platforms and as people who folks trust, and they trust us because we say the hard thing,” Union told Parents.

In raising children unafraid to say and do the hard thing, Union and Wade are also teaching them the value of compassion. Specifically, “compassion for herself,” Union said of daughter Kaavia. “So often, we’re drilled to be compassionate to everybody else, but we leave ourselves out of that compassion umbrella and let ourselves get drenched and drowned in self-loathing and self-judgment. And when you breed compassion in your home, [kids] can’t help but live it and expect it.”

The couple also reflected on the importance of raising strong women in general. “This is my first time raising a little girl from this age as Zaya came to us older,” Wade told Parents. “I don’t know what Kaav’s going to choose for herself. But if she does choose a man, I want her to look at that man she chooses and say you have to measure up to my daddy. So, the bar will be set high.”

Fortunately, Wade is already off to a great start.

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