On Feb. 24, Zaya Wade’s name change was made legal by the Los Angeles Superior Court. Dwyane Wade’s 15-year-old daughter has been going by the name Zaya since 2020, but the ruling also recognizes her transition, which allows her sex markers on official documents to match her gender identity. Per People, court documents reveal her legal name is now Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade.
Dwyane first spoke about Zaya coming out as transgender during an interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2020. Since then, he and his wife, Gabrielle Union, have been open about supporting her throughout her journey. However, Zaya’s biological mother, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, opposed her daughter’s name change in a November 2022 court filing. In the filing, she requested that Zaya wait until she turned 18 to change her name. At the time, she also alleged Dwyane was trying to profit off of their child.
The former NBA player responded to his ex’s allegations in an Instagram post. “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 wrote. “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.”
He went on to add that he was awarded sole custody of their children over a decade ago and claimed that his ex had ample opportunity to get to know Zaya and better understand her 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,” Dwyane continued.
In addition to Zaya, Funches-Wade and Dwyane are also parents to 20-year-old Zaire. Dwyane is also dad to 8-year-old Xavier Zechariah with his ex Aja Metoyer, and 3-year-old Kaavia James, whom he shares with Union. Additionally, he was the legal guardian of his now-21-year-old nephew, Dahveon Morris.
The NBA legend has always been open about learning and growing as a father in order to be there for his children. In 2022, he shared his advice for other parents in an interview with Today. “I think we have to continue to grow as parents and understand that our kids’ lives are not just about us. We didn’t have them to be a mini version of us. They’re going to become who they are in this world, and it’s our job to find that out,” he said.