Dwyane Wade Responds After His Ex-Wife Tries To Block Daughter's Official Name And Gender Change

NBA veteran Dwyane Wade has been a staunch supporter of his 15-year-old daughter Zaya, who came out as transgender in 2020. He and his wife Gabrielle Union have appeared to show unwavering support for Zaya and others in the queer community through social media comments, conversations with other parents and at LBGTQ+ events. However, after filing a petition in August to have Zaya’s name and gender officially changed, the former Miami Heat guard was forced to respond to accusations from his ex-wife, who filed her own court documents attempting to block the changes.

Siovaughn Funches-Wade, who was married to Dwyane Wade from 2002 to 2010 and is Zaya's mother, filed documents in Los Angeles on November 1, per NBC News, that said her ex-husband “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” since Zaya came out. Wade responded to the “serious and harmful allegations” in a lengthy Instagram message that read in part:  

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.

The three-time NBA champion, who also shares The Little Mermaid-loving daughter Kaavia with Bring It On star Gabrielle Union, called it a “damn shame” that he had to address this situation on social media. He pointed out that he was granted sole custody of his two children with Siovaughn Funches-Wade, and had stated in August when he filed Zaya’s petition that he had informed his ex-wife “as a courtesy.” He continued: 

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! 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 went on to say that Siovaughn Funches-Wade has been an “absent parent,” not taking time to speak or listen to Zaya over the years. You can read Dwyane Wade’s post in its entirety below:

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Siovaughn Funches-Wade asked in her court documents that Dwyane Wade’s requests to have Zaya’s name and gender changed be denied. She stated that at the age of 18 Zaya could then make the decisions for herself. Funches-Wade alleged that her ex-husband told her in April 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,” as “there would be endorsements/contracts associated therewith.”

The former NBA player, who has been open about his thoughts on the league and its legends, can currently be seen on the documentary The Redeem Team— available with a Netflix subscription — which details the 2008 U.S. Men’s Basketball Team’s path to the Beijing Olympics (and honors Kobe Bryant’s memory in the process). 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.