Dwyane Wade's Daughter Zaya Wins in Court, Gets Legally Granted A Name Change

Dani Sanders
Dwyane Wade and daughter Zaya

It's a joyous day for the Wade family as Zaya Wade, the daughter of the ace basketballer Dwyane Wade can now legally change her name and gender mark. Let's take a closer look at her journey and the juicy drama that ensued between the parents during this time.

The Court Announcement

Giphy | Molly’s Game

The Los Angeles Superior Court granted legal permission this Saturday to Zaya Wade to change her gender marker and name on legal paperwork.

A Tale of August 2022


The petition for the identity change started in August 2022, headed by the advocate's father, Dwyane Wade.

A Public Broadcast

The retired NBA star revealed the news of his daughter coming out as trans in February 2020 on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

A Gender Identity Reveal

Dwyane revealed to Ellen how Zaya spoke to him and his wife, Gabrielle Union, about her gender identity when his daughter was 12, calling himself and his wife "proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community."

Source of Constant Support

Dad's support to daughter

The NBA star responded to Zaya's coming out, "I said, ‘You are a leader, and this is an opportunity to allow you to be a voice'."

Helping the Community

lgbtq community
Unsplash | Raphael Renter

He even expressed his daughter's wish to be able to help others in the LGBTQIA+ community and shared how he's fulfilling her wishes through his foundations, stating, "That’s how we celebrate.”

A Heartbreaking Separation

A Heartbreaking Separation

Dwyane was previously married to Siohvaughn Funches, Zaya's mother, whom he later divorced due to differences in opinion.

Not in Favor

I disagree
Giphy | Beverley Mitchell

Funches protested against Zaya's intentions to change her identity, revealing to the media that Dwyane had intentions to "profit" and "capitalize on financial opportunities" from Zaya's journey.

To Unimaginable Extents

To Unimaginable Extents
Giphy | CBC

Funches even went to the extent of filing legal paperwork to prevent the name and gender change from proceeding.

Dwyane Clarifies His Position

Dwyane called her allegations "nonsensical" and "her unwavering attempt to drag my name through the mud" and explained how the comments "hurt" their children.

A Chance to Change

Dwyane Wade
Giphy | NBA

The former Miami Heatstar emphasized Funches' unwillingness to get to know her children, revealing that he had given her several opportunities to "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!"

A Prolonged Absence

Commenting on Funches’ involvement in her children’s life, Dwyane called her an “absent parent”, while the former calls such claims “completely untrue.”

A Missing Parent

That's unfair
Giphy | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

He continued to reveal that although Funches views herself as a "good Christian mother," she has never made a "sacrifice in her children's lives in over a decade."

Definitely Not a Game

Zaya, who has now changed her name to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade and is legally female, is supported by her family, and Dwyane clarifies that the whole scenario is not a "game for my family and definitely not for Zaya. This is her life!"

No Word Yet

No update
Giphy | Snap-on Tools

While Funches never really gave her daughter her blessings, her athlete father encouraged her to move on and not "put her life on hold while she waits for Siohvaughn to acknowledge and accept her truth.”

The Stepmom Steps In

Gabrielle Union, currently married to Dwyane and sharing a son with him, extended her support for Zaya's journey, "It's our job to be loving, compassionate, protective guides for our children, but their lives are their lives, and we have to respect that."

A Free-Willed Decision

Free will
Giphy | Team Coco

Dwyane, who is a father of 5 kids, expresses his feelings about their life decisions saying that he would never force anyone to do anything "against their will, much less force an identity on them."

Gains For the Future

As for the identity change at this young age, Dwyane remarks that it would be in Zaya's "best interest … from simple introductions and food orders to applying for a driver’s license and filling out college applications.”

The Sole Custodian

Sole Custodian
Giphy | The Lonely Island

Dwyane has full custody of both the kids he shares with ex-wife Funches and, thus, had full authority to proceed with the identity change. However, he revealed that she was still informed as a "courtesy."