Still, PopSugar reports, the father of five credits his 12-year-old daughter, Zaya Wade, with leading him on his journey to advocacy and understanding. Zaya, the middle child between her four siblings, came out as a trans this February. Her siblings — Zaire Wade, 18, Dahveon Morris, 18, Xavier Wade, 6, and Kaavia Union-Wade, 1 — and stepmom stand ferociously behind her. Here is everything we know about the Wade kids.
1. Zaya has known her gender identity since she was 3 years old, according to Dwyane.
The world was introduced to Zaya, in all of her glorious confidence, early this year. In February, the 12-year-old reintroduced herself as Zaya, in alignment with her true gender identity as a girl. In an earnest moment on Good Morning America, Dwyane admitted that it is Zaya’s insight that guides his own thinking.
“She's known that for nine years. Since she was 3 years old. … I knew early on that I had to check myself,” the father of five said. “I've been a person in that locker room that has been a part of the conversation, that has said the wrong phrases and the wrong words myself."
In fact, the safe space the two share offers a wealth of information to not only the Wades but their Instagram following, too. Union-Wade shared a video of one of Zaya and Dwyane’s illuminating conversations. It has received over 4 million views.
“Just be true to yourself. … What’s the point in even being on this Earth, if you’re going to try to be someone you’re not?” Zaya pondered. “I know it can get tough, but push through and be the best you. … Even through hard times, you gotta push through. It’s worth it. You can look in the mirror and say ‘it’s nice to meet you,’ instead of ‘I don’t know who I am’ in a full identity crisis.”
“Even if people are being mean, and people are getting hurt because they are trying to be themselves, you still want people to live their truth?”
2. Baby Kaavia has been here before.
Above plump cheeks and pouted lips, 1-year-old Kaavia's eyes betray her disapproval. Indeed, for all of her animation, the youngest Wade has earned the title of the "Shady Baby." And she has an Instagram account — run by mom and dad — to prove it. But Kaavia, the first child Dwyane and Union-Wade had together, isn’t just any expressive baby, Union-Wade writes in her 2017 memoir, she was their miracle child.
“I have had eight or nine miscarriages,” she revealed in the book, People reported. “For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant — I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle.”
Today, Union-Wade says Kaavia is a beacon of hope, from her family to her followers.
“Kaavia really is the personification of hope for a lot of people like us, who maybe didn’t have a lot to be hopeful about,” Union-Wade told Parents. “She represents that maybe there is a light at the end. And when you take people on the low points of your journey, it’s cool to let them be part of the joy. Plus, she’s really cute. And has an uncanny ability for making steely eye contact!”
3. Zaire plays ball with LeBron "Bronny" James Jr.
Like his father, Zaire has his sights set on the basketball courts, Oprah Magazine reports. But Dwyane’s similarities with his firstborn don’t stop there. Like his dad, the Sierra Canyon senior shares the court with LeBron James — only, in Zaire’s case, it’s Bronny, the senior James' son.
4. Morris is Wade’s nephew.
While Dwyane is indeed raising five children, Morris, affectionately known as “dada,” is actually Dwyane’s nephew. The former Miami Heat player has full custody of the 18-year-old, while his sister still maintains her parental rights, Oprah Magazine reports. The high school senior started at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago before moving to Florida and eventually California, where he shared the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers’ basketball court with cousin Zaire his senior year.
5. The entire family has rallied around Zaya.
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As a family, we believe inclusion and equality are two essential pillars needed to move towards growth and progressive thinking and action in our society. We have created a Limited Edition T shirt to help create a more inclusive space with our platform. The Wade family and @yngdna have decided to donate $50k and 50% of the proceeds of sales of the Pride shirts to The GLSEN organization whose mission strives to ensure safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation as well as gender identity. For 25 years GLSEN has been the leading national organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ+ students #StopKillingBlackTransWomen #StopKillingTransWomen #TransWomenAreWomen #SupportingEachOtherWithPride PS @kaaviajames has a very cool @yngdna Pride piece coming soon ????????????????????????
While Union-Wade and Dwyane have demonstrated unwavering solidarity with Zaya online, the family’s allyship is far from virtual. The Wades collaborated with fashion company YNG DNA to promote their message: PRIDE. The acronym, which stands for Please Remain Inclusive & Dedicated to Equality, colors the brand's limited edition t-shirts.
“As a family, we believe inclusion and equality are two essential pillars needed to move towards growth and progressive thinking and action in our society. ” Union-Wade wrote on Instagram.
In step with the family’s advocacy, 50% of proceeds from t-shirt sales were donated to GLSEN, the national leader in ensuring safety and supportiveness in schools for LGBTQ+ students.