LGBTQ+ Parents

Dwyane Wade Defends Daughter's Name Change: "Not A Game" For Zaya

Dwyane Wade has never shied away from standing up for his kids, and he’s holding true to that for his daughter Zaya.

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Former professional basketball player Dwayne Wade (R) and his daughter Zaya Wade arrive for the "Che...

Dwyane Wade has never shied away from standing up for his kids, and he’s holding true to that for his daughter Zaya. The ex-basketball star has publicly addressed ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches after she filed paperwork with the courts to object to his previous filing asking for a legal name change for Zaya. Wade’s willingness to go to bat for his daughter — no matter who is in the way of her happiness — is important parenting and a great model for parents of LGBTQ+ kids.

How did we get here? Earlier this summer, Wade filed paperwork with the Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of his daughter Zaya, asking for a legal name change two years after she told her dad she was transgender. He and Zaya’s stepmom, Gabrielle Union, have been publicly supportive of Zaya’s transition, and a legal name change was the next step.

Unfortunately, Zaya’s mom, Funches, filed paperwork alleging Wade is "positioned to profit" from Zaya’s name change, and she’s looking to block the petition from going through. And Wade is not having it, firing back at those claims on social media by showing his unequivocal support for his daughter, centering her needs, and hitting back at harmful narratives about trans kids.

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

“... 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. 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 finds ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children,” he continued.

“This report came out while Zaya was in class. This is a kid who has maintained a 4.0 GPA in honors classes while navigating all this unsolicited and harmful attention and debates about her gender and sexuality from those who are committed to not listening to her, much less even knowing her.”

Wade described his ex-wife has “tried a similar attempt over a decade ago” and said it caused damage and “irreparable harm to her children,” which led to Wade being awarded sole custody of their two shared kids, including Zaya.

And since Wade wrote, “instead of actually trying to co-parent over the years, she’s left her home to see more lawyers and has taken the time to talk to more lawyers since I filed for divorce, than she’s left her home to actually see or have truly spoken and LISTENED to Zaya over all these years.”

“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 continued. “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.”

Wade added, “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.”

“As men, we get a bad rep for not showing up and being absentee fathers, well that’s not the case here because I’m ten toes down and I’m still going thru the BS!” Wade wrote. “I will not sit on my hands this time and allow her to make a mockery of my dedication to my family. The high road has run out of real estate. My lawyer will be in contact and best of luck to the 14h lawyer as they try to unravel this book of lies that’s been sold to them.”

Wade leaves zero questions on the table on who he is fighting for and why in his statement. The next step is a hearing for the case, which is set for December 12.

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