By Sonia Horon for Dailymail.Com and Ronny Reyes for Dailymail.Com
01:13 February 25, 2023, updated 03:25 February 25, 2023
After a lawsuit between Dwyane Wade and his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, their transgender daughter Zaya has been given a legal name and gender reassignment.
A Los Angeles County judge has approved the new identity of Dwyane’s 15-year-old child in documents obtained by TMZ.
The daughter of the 40-year-old former professional basketball player – who came out as transgender in 2019 at age 12 – is now legally named Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade.
The judge also granted her an official gender change from male to female. The name and gender petition was filed last August. Last November, Zaya’s mother contested Wade’s petition, claiming that their child was being financially pressured into making the decision.
Since coming out, Zaya has won modeling contracts with brands like Tiffany, Dove and hundreds of thousands of social media followers. According to her mother, she is also in talks about deals with Disney.
The retired NBA star argued in court that he had “full authority” to “make decisions” on Zaya’s behalf when he was awarded custody of his two children against Siohvaughn in 2011, RadarOnline reported last month.
Funches-Wade filed an appeal in Los Angeles County Superior Court in November over Zaya’s name change, accusing Wade of exploiting their daughter for financial gain.
In his latest filing, Wade said the allegations were “baseless.” He also claimed that his ex could not prove why the name change would not be in Zaya’s best interest.
Wade also said Funches-Wade’s opposition to a court petition to allow Zaya the legal changes was “defamatory” and “nonsensical,” TMZ reported at the time.
Funches-Wade told the court in November that the NBA alum finally wanted to exploit Zaya’s story amid business opportunities with companies including Disney.
Wade, who played for the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls during his career, told the court it was in Zaya’s “best interest” for the petition to be approved.
He said that “a court order confirming her identity will allow Zaya to live more comfortably and fairly in all aspects of her life — from simple introductions and food orders to applying for a driver’s license and completing college applications.”
Wade said the “petition is designed to empower Zaya to take on the milestones of being a young adult with confidence and joy.”
Wade’s lawyers added, “Siohvaughn’s allegations are at their core defamatory and nonsensical at best. Dwyane submitted this petition because Zaya asked him to.”
In August, Wade filed a petition to allow Zaya to legally change her gender and name from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade. Zaya has been called Zaya for two years.
Funches-Wade previously said in court filings that she believed Wade “might be pressuring our child to go through with the name and gender change to take advantage of the financial opportunities he’s been given by companies.”
In her defiance, she said she wants Zaya to wait until she is 18 before changing her name and claims that Wade pushed for the name change for the company.
“I am concerned that (Dwyane) is pressuring our child to go ahead with the name and gender change to take advantage of the financial opportunities he has been given by companies,” she said in her legal filing.
She also cited a conversation from April in which she claims Dwyane told her “a lot of money had already been made and more money will be made regarding the name and sex of our child.”
“(Dwyane) told me he planned to make our kid very famous because of the name and gender and also told me there would be endorsements/contracts involved,” she claims.
Funches-Wade and Wade were married between 2002 and 2010. They also share eldest son Zaire, 20.
Wade filed for divorce in 2007, the same year he met Gabrielle Union, whom he married in 2014.
Since 2019, the two have been describing how Zaya came out to them and how they now know her as her “authentic self.”
“Our (then) 12-year-old came home… and said, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you guys. I think in the future I’m ready to live my truth and I want to be referred to as she and her and I’d like you guys to call me Zaya,” he told Ellen DeGeneres during an appearance on her show.
In a later interview with People, he said Zaya’s transition gave him “hope.”
He first spoke about her transition in 2019 on Matt Barnes’ podcast, All The Smoke.
“I had to look at myself in the mirror. When my son was three years old at the time and me and my wife started having conversations about us, they noticed he wasn’t on the boy vibe that [older brother] Zaire was up.
“I had to look myself in the mirror and say ‘what if your son comes home and tells you he’s gay?’ What are you going to do?
“You’re going to talk about strength and courage. My 12 year old has a lot more than me. You can learn something from your children. In our household we only talk about that. We talk about making sure our kids are seen by each of us. We want them to be who they feel they can be in this world. That’s our goal.
“I saw my son transform into who she has become from day one.
“And for me the point is: nothing changes with my love. My responsibilities will not change. So all I had to do now is get smarter, teach myself more. And that’s my job,” he said.