How Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union Are Protecting Daughter Zaya's Mental Health

In September, Dwyane Wade announced he and Gabrielle Union decided "not to allow the hate" onto daughter Zaya's Instagram. Scroll on to learn more about how they're protecting her mental health.

By Elyse Dupre Oct 07, 2022 5:50 PMTags
Watch: Gabrielle Union & Dwyane Wade Celebrate Zaya's 14th Birthday

Dwyane Wade is protecting his team off the court.

In an Oct. 7 interview on Today, the retired NBA star spoke about the decision he and wife Gabrielle Union made to limit comments on daughter Zaya Wade's Instagram account for her mental health.

Explaining that he and Gabrielle had already seen "all the negativity that comes with social media and the comments" that his son Zaire Wade, 20, had received as a teen, Dwyane shared that they didn't want the same for 15-year-old Zaya, who came out as transgender in 2020.    

"You know, Zaire's conversation was about sports," the athlete noted about the online comments the kids get, "Zaya's is about what a lot of people don't even really understand and get."

So Dwyane, 40, and Gabrielle 49, made sure they had a discussion with Zaya about being on social media. 

"We want to make sure that if she's going to be on social media—she's going to show people her life—it's going to be the people that she wants that's in her circle," the sports commentator said. "Everybody on the outside, that noise on the outside really don't matter. What matters is the voices that you allow in your circle. And so that's the people that we wanted to follow her journey and follow her life."

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Ultimately, they decided to restrict who can comment on Zaya's page and try to create a more loving and supportive online community.  

"We left the hate out of it," Dwyane told Today. "It's enough of that in the world. She gets enough of it. We didn't want it to be under her comments so she can read it."

And he stressed the importance of prioritizing mental health. "This is an important topic in this world," he shared. "It's very important for us as parents to protect the health of our kids both physically and mentally and so we wanted to do that." 


Dwyane—who in addition to sharing Zaya and Zaire with his ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches has son Xavier, 8, with Aja Metoyer; daughter Kaavia, 3, with Gabrielle; and has raised nephew Dahveon Morris, 21—first announced the decision to limit Zaya's social media comments a few weeks ago.

"For Zaya's mental health and privacy we've decided not to allow the hate into her comments," he tweeted on Sept. 29. "Thank you for wanting to spread and send her love."

Zaya has previously spoken about the messages she's received online. "As a trans person, once I came out, there was a lot of hateful comments about how I should grow my hair out long or fit into a certain version of femininity, even though that's not true at all," she told People in a May. "That kind of advice is just trying to break you, but don't let it."

Zaya won't tolerate any negativity on her feed and encourages other social media users to stand up against online hate, too. 

"We don't need to follow anyone into feeling unworthy or not beautiful," she added. "We have the power over our own feeds to remove the content that doesn't make us feel good and instead flood our feeds with the positivity that we both want to see and put out into the world."

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