Zaya Wade Is Granted Legal Name And Gender Change
Zaya Wade has been granted an official name and gender change.
On Friday, a Los Angeles County judge signed off on the changed legal identity for the 15-year-old, according to TMZ, after her "proud" father first petitioned the court in August 2022.
The teenager is now legally female; her full legal name is Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade. The name change is a critical step in Zaya's transition, and this new identity reflects Zaya's transformation and marks the beginning of her life as her true self.
Zaya, whom Dwyane shares with ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches, came out as trans in February 2020.
The retired NBA star and Funches divorced in 2010 after eight years of marriage and had differing opinions on handling the matter.
Wade publicly discussed his support of his daughter's identity while on the Ellen show in February 2020. He shared that he and his wife, Gabrielle Union, "are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community."
"We take our roles, and our responsibilities, as parents very seriously," he said. "When our child comes home with a question, when a child comes home with an issue when a child comes home with anything, it's our job as parents to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can."
His ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches, asked the court to stop Wade from continuing his petition to change Zaya's name.
In the objection, Funches claims that she met with Wade in April, during which "[He] told me that he intended to make our child very famous due to the name and gender issue and also informed me that there would be endorsements/contracts associated therewith."
The athlete, 41, has consistently advocated for Zaya's right to "live more comfortably and honestly in all aspects of her life." In contrast, Funches, also 41, has accused her ex of "pressuring" their child to "move forward" with a name and gender change "in order to capitalize on financial opportunities."
Dwyane called the claims "nonsensical" in a November 2022 filing, 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 continued to explain how the requested amendments to Zaya's identity would act in her "best interest … from simple introductions and food orders to applying for a driver's license and filling out college applications."
But Funches — who used her daughter's name "Zion" in her opposition — claimed she wanted Zaya to wait to make the changes herself when she turned 18.
"I'm very disappointed that [Funches] continuously finds ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children," the basketball player wrote on social media in response.
Dwyane and his wife, Gabrielle Union, advocate for Zaya's right to "live more comfortably and honestly in all aspects of her life."
Sole custody of Zaya has been in the hands of Dwyane since 2011. In his initial request, Dwyane noted he had "full authority" to proceed without Funches' consent but that she had been told as a "courtesy."
He called his ex, with whom he also shared 21-year-old son Zaire, an "absent parent" who allegedly did not reach out to Zaya's "teachers, doctors and therapists" about her purported concerns — claims Funches insisted were "completely untrue."
Dwyane and Gabrielle hope to ensure that their daughter is able to make her own decisions about her identity and not be influenced by their expectations. They want to provide a safe, supportive environment for their daughter to explore who she is and wants to be.
Dwyane wrote on Instagram that he and his wife, Gabrielle Union, who are parents to 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."