In a recent court filing, Dwyane Wade says it “is in her best interest” for his 15-year-old transgender daughter, Zaya, to legally change her name and gender.
The filing was in response to his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, who earlier this month attempted to prevent Zaya, who was born Zion, from receiving an updated birth certificate.
“This Petition is not about Siohvaughn or Dwyane or their prior marriage, it is about what Zaya wants and what is in her best interest. This Petition is about empowering Zaya to live her truth,” the document states.
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The Miami Heat legend said Zaya has identified as a female since she was 12, and a name/gender change will allow her to live a more comfortable lifestyle without “being clouded by the self-doubt that comes from checking a box or signing a name that does not reflect her identity.
“A court order affirming her identity will allow Zaya to live more comfortably and honestly in all aspects of her life — from simple introductions and food orders, to applying for a driver’s license and filling out college applications,” the filing states.
Funches-Wade argued that her ex-husband is trying to profit off Zaya’s transition, and he “may be pressuring” Zaya over potential “financial opportunities,” allegations the former NBA star called “nonsensical” and “libelous at their core.”
The two were married in 2007 but divorced in 2010, and they’ve had a war of words recently over Zaya.
“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!” Wade wrote in an Instagram post earlier this month. “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!
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“As a woman who claims to be a good Christian mother, I’ve yet to see her make any sacrifice or effort to leave her own home to participate in her children’s lives in over a decade. 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! All the while my wife and our village has been her rock in helping her pick up the pieces after heartbreak after heartbreak!”
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A hearing on the matter is scheduled for December in Los Angeles.