Dwyane Wade’s ex-wife files petition to block gender, name change of daughter Zaya Wade

Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, the ex-wife of NBA player Dwyane Wade, is asking a California court to prevent her former spouse from allowing their 15-year-old transgender daughter Zaya to legally change her name and gender.

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Funches-Wade, 41, submitted an objection to a Los Angeles County court that requested Zaya Wade wait until “the age of majority” to make permanent changes to her identity, documents obtained by TODAY said.

TODAY reached out to Funches-Wade’s legal team and Dwyane Wade’s rep for additional comment. Early Thursday morning, the 40-year-old father of four released a statement on Instagram.

“Since this must be the new way of parenting, I guess I have to address these allegations here, which is a damn shame,” Wade said in the statement shared on his Instagram. “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.”

Funches-Wade said in the court documents, "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 argued that the matter is a “parental rights issue” and that her ex-husband is using his status as a former basketball star to make a profit off of Zaya Wade’s brand partnerships.

Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade (Chris Pizzello / AP)
Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade (Chris Pizzello / AP)

The documents said, “I have concerns that Petitioner may be pressuring our child to move forward with the name and gender change in order to capitalize on the financial opportunities that he has received from companies, and will receive based upon Petitioner’s statements to me, on the basis of our child’s name and/or gender change.”

Wade’s ex-wife also said in the court docs that outside factors could influence Zaya Wade’s decision to change her name and gender.

“This matter has been highly reported in the media and there will likely be media pressure on the minor child,” Funches-Wade said in the filing.

“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,” Wade also said in his statement shared on Thursday. “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.”

He later continued: “Zaya is not that same 3 year child anymore and she’s screaming that to the world but most importantly to her Mother! No one in our house would ever force Zaya or any of our children to do anything against their will, much less force an identity on them. This isn’t a game for my family and definitely not for Zaya. This is her life!”

The hearing to resolve the case will be held on Dec. 12.

Funches-Wade’s petition to the court came two months after the retired Miami Heat guard filed to have his daughter legally change her name to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade, according to documents made available online by the Los Angeles Superior Court.

On Aug. 22, Dwyane Wade said in the filing that he has the full authority to make decisions on behalf of his daughter. He added that he notified Funches-Wade about the petition “as a courtesy.”

Funches-Wade and Dwyane Wade were married from 2002 to 2010 and share 20-year-old son Zaire Wade as well. Dwyane Wade is also a father to 8-year-old son Xavier, with former partner Aja Metoyer, and 3-year-old daughter Kaavia , whom he shares with his current wife Gabrielle Union.

Siohvaughn Wade, smiles during the PlayStation Skills Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend (Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images)
Siohvaughn Wade, smiles during the PlayStation Skills Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend (Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images)

Last month, Dwyane Wade appeared on TODAY and spoke about his daughter coming out as transgender at the age of 12 back in 2019.  The father of four said he and Union try to prevent Zaya Wade from seeing hateful social media comments.

“We sat down with Zaya about being on social media. 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.

He continued, “Everybody on the outside, that noise on the outside, that (doesn’t) matter. What matters is the voice that you allow in your circle.”

The 40-year-old said a decision was made to keep “the hate out of it.”

“We didn’t want it to be on her comments so she can read it,” he shared. “We know what we are in this world. Mental health is a very — this is an important topic in this world. It’s very important for us as parents to protect the health of our kids, both physically and mentally, so we wanted to do that.”

The 3-time NBA champion further explained why it is important for parents to be supportive of their children at the Time 100 Gala’s event in June.

While speaking to TODAY on the red carpet, Dwyane Wade said an important lesson he has learned as a father is to allow children to see their “real selves.”

“I think we have to continue to grow as parents and understand that our kids’ lives are not just about us,” he said. “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.”

His teenage daughter has also spoken about her role as an inspiration to the trans youth community.

In June, Zaya was honored as a trailblazer by the LGBTQ entertainment brand Logo. The company has an annual series called Logo30 highlighting trailblazers in the LGBTQ community, and decided to feature her this year.

In a clip from the show exclusively obtained by TODAY, Zaya Wade said, “Being my full authentic self feels like freedom. Being out and open and truthful about who I am to myself and others is just freeing. It’s a beautiful feeling to have and hold and to be able to share with the rest of the world.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com