Zaya Wade’s father, Dwayne Wade, Files to Legally Change Her Name and Gender

by Xara Aziz
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Thirteen-time NBA All-Star, Dwayne Wade filed a petition to legally change the name of his trans daughter’s name and gender, according to court documents released Thursday.

The three-time NBA championship winner requested that his 15-year-old’s name be changed from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade. The request, filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court, is also seeking to have her regarded as a female in all legal documents.

In the petition, Wade said that he has “full authority” to proceed with the request without the consent of Zaya’s mother Siohvaughn Funches, however, she has been notified of the request “as a courtesy.”

“We take our roles and our responsibilities as parents very seriously,” Wade said of him and Zaya’s stepmother, Gabrielle Union during a taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2020.

He continued that he and Union’s wish is to provide the “best information that [they] can, the best feedback that [they] can, and that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”

Zaya came out as a transgender girl two years ago and has since become an advocate and spokesperson for those in the transgender community. While she has expressed freedom since coming out, she says it can still be difficult to deal with comments from the public.

“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,” Zaya said. “That kind of advice is just trying to break you, but don’t let it.”                       

She credits her supportive parents and loved ones for helping her during the transition. Although her father sometimes fears for her safety when she is away. “As blessed as it is for my daughter to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves the house,” he told CNN’s Poppy Harlow at the event in New York City. “And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world.”

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