Zaya Wade’s Mother Files Petition to Block Her from Changing Name and Identity

by Xara Aziz
Voiced by Amazon Polly

The ex-wife and mother to three of NBA champ Dwayne Wade’s children has requested that a court prevent her ex-husband from allowing her 15-year-old transgender daughter to legally change her name and gender.

On November 1, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade submitted an objection stating that her child, Zaya Wade, wait until “the age of majority” to make changes to her identity, according to documents obtained by TODAY.

On Thursday, Zaya’s father released a statement on Instagram calling allegations made against him “a damn shame.”

“Since this must be the new way of parenting, I guess I have to address these allegations here, which is a damn shame,” he wrote. “While I’m on a life-changing trip in our motherland, Africa, 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. These are serious and harmful allegations that have hurt our children.”

He also addressed that he has taken the necessary steps to provide for his daughter’s needs.

“I’ve given her the opportunity to reach out to Zaya’s teachers, doctors and therapist over the years and even meet her friends, so she could get her own understanding of our child’s needs for her LIFE. She won’t do it! She has not been to a school, recital, graduation, school dance, play date, practice, parent teacher conference etc and Zaya has given her every opportunity to try to get to know her. She won’t do it.”

In court documents, Funches-Wade said “I contend that our child should be given the opportunity to decide for themselves at the age of majority if they want to move forward with changing their name and/or gender.”

She said that the legal situation is a “parental rights issue” and that the 13-time NBA All-Star was using his celebrity status to profit off of Zaya’s brand partnerships.

In October, Dwyane Wade spoke about his daughter transitioning from a boy to a girl when she was 12 and said he and his wife Gabrielle Union were doing their best to prevent Zaya from seeing hate speech against her on social media.

 “We sat down with Zaya about being on social media,” he said on TODAY. “Her, my wife and I, we just talked about, we just want to make sure if she’s going to be on social media, if she’s going to show people some of her life, it’s going to be the people that she wants, that’s in her circle,” he explained at the time. 

The hearing to resolve the case is scheduled for December 12. 

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