Dwyane Wade’s ex claims he pressurized trans daughter to change gender for money

Francis Akhalbey November 03, 2022
Zaya Wade came out when she was 12 -- Photo via @dwyanewade on Instagram

It appears Dwyane Wade’s ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, is not in support of the legal petition the former basketball star filed to officially change the gender and name of their 15-year-old transgender daughter. As reported by Face2Face Africa, Wade’s daughter, Zaya, came out to the world when she was just 12. 

In legal documents obtained by The Blast, Siohvaughn alleges that Zaya is being pushed to make the decision because of financial benefits on the table. Wade had filed his petition at a Los Angeles County Court. In the legal documents, the former Miami Heat star asked the judge to formalize his 15-year-old daughter’s transition and also change her name from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade. And since Zaya is not yet an adult, the change can only take legal effect if she obtains a court order as well as the consent of her parents.

But in her objection to her ex-husband’s petition, Siohvaughn alleges that Wade is “attempting to circumvent the requirements of the Illinois final custody order judgment entered on March 14, 2011.” She alleges that the final custody order they reached allows for parental consultation, adding that before any important decision about their two children is to be made, Wade is also required to “discuss with and obtain input in the major decisions affecting care, welfare, activities, health, education and religious upbringing.”

Siohvaughn claims there “are multiple factors to be considered by the Court in determining the requests to change the minor child’s name and gender. The minor child is fifteen and one-half years old.” She also alleges that Wade “is positioned to profit from the minor child’s name and gender change with various companies through contacts and marketing opportunities including but not limited to deals with Disney.”

Siohvaughn also writes that the matter in question “has been highly reported in the media and there will likely be media pressure on the minor child.” She also claims Wade personally explained to her that the decision to have Zaya’s name and gender changed was because of financial reasons.

“I have concerns that (Dwyane) 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,” she states.

She adds: “In April 2022, (Dwyane) invited me to one of his residences in Atlanta, Georgia. During this occasion, he informed me that a lot of money had been already made and that additional money will be made in relation to our child’s name and gender issue. (Dwyane) told me that he intended to make our child very famous due to the name and gender issue and also informed me that there would be endorsements/contracts associated therewith.”

Siohvaughn also writes that after she “inquired what companies had made deals, or was willing to make deals, with (Dwyane) regarding our child. Zion, who was present at the time, answered that various companies were interested and that Disney was a prospective company.”

Siohvaughn is therefore asking the court not to approve Wade’s decision and pass a judgment that would require that they wait until Zaya turns 18 before she makes such a decision, per The Blast

“(Siohvaughn) contends that the minor child be given the opportunity at the age of majority, which is two and one-half years away, to make this monumental decision for themselves. She has strong concerns that (Dwyane) may be pressuring or incentivizing the minor child with lucrative financial opportunities in order to proceed with this instant Petition,” she writes.

She also states in the documents that she’s probably not in full support of their daughter legally changing her gender. She writes that she is “concerned that due to the high profile nature of this case if the minor child is not fully in support of the requested relief (and is being pressured by Dwyane or financial opportunities), the media would pressure and scrutinize her. 

Siohvaughn claims that since she and Wade reached their custody agreement in Illinois, her ex-husband is not entitled to make that decision. She said laws pertaining to such cases are unique from state to state, adding that the Illinois Department of Public health demands “an affidavit from the individual AND a declaration of gender transition to be completed, by either a licensed health care professional or licensed mental health professional to confirm that the individual has either undergone clinically appropriate treatment for gender transition or has an intersex condition.”

A judge is set to rule on the case in December. “I am concerned that our child is being commercialized at a young age and also of the uncontrollable consequences of media exposure i.e. cyberbullying, statements and/or pictures taken out of context of our child, and the unwanted spotlight focused on our child,” Siohvaughn states.

Last Edited by:Welby Obeng Updated: November 3, 2022


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