Dwyane Wade's Daughter's Name and Gender Change Is Now Official

Dwyane Wade's transgender daughter, Zaya, has been given an official name and gender change. A Los Angeles County judge on Feb. 24 approved the 15-year-old's new legal identity after her "proud" father first petitioned the court in August 2022 to seek a change in her legal status, according to TMZ. With her new legal name, Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade, the teenager is now legally a female. In February 2020, Zaya, the daughter of Dwyane and his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches, came out as transgender. In 2010, Funches and the retired NBA star divorced after eight years of marriage. Their views differed on how to handle the issue. While Funches, also 41, has accused her ex of "pressuring" their child to "move forward" with her name and gender change "to capitalize on financial opportunities," the athlete, 41, has consistently pushed for Zaya's right to live a more comfortable and honest life. In a November 2022 filing, Dwyane referred to the claims as "nonsensical," adding, "While it certainly would have been preferable for Zaya's mother to be supportive of this important part of Zaya's journey, Zaya should not be forced to put her life on hold while she waits for Siohvaughn to acknowledge and accept her truth."

He explained that the requested changes to Zaya's identity would serve her best interests "from simple introductions and food orders to applying for a driver's license and filling out college applications." Funches, who used Zaya's deadname, Zion, in her opposition, said she wanted Zaya to wait until 18 to make the changes herself. According to his lengthy post, the three-time NBA champion wrote in response, "I've received a social media post about me forcing our 15-year-old child to be someone she's not and to do something against her will." He added the accusations had "hurt our children. "While none of us are surprised by Siohvaughn's attempt to fight Zaya's identity and her unwavering attempt to drag my name through the mud, I'm very disappointed that she continuously find[s] ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children," the basketball player penned on social media.

As a result, he called his ex-wife, who is also the mother of his 21-year-old son Zaire, an "absent parent" who allegedly did not contact Zaya's "teachers, doctors, and therapist" about her concerns – allegations Funches insisted were "completely untrue." He continued to write that he and wife Gabrielle Union, who also have a 4-year-old daughter Kaavia, would never "force Zaya or any of [their] children to do anything against their will, much less force an identity on them." Because he has had sole custody since 2011, Dwyane noted he had "full authority" to move forward without Funches' permission, but she had been informed as a "courtesy." He is also dad to 9-year-old son Xavier, whom he co-parents with Aja Metoyer. Wade and Union have been fierce allies and outspoken trans rights advocates for the past three years. They often use their platforms to speak against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and celebrate their daughter's identity.