Dwyane Wade left to defend trans daughter against her ‘good Christian mother’

Former professional basketball player Dwayne Wade (R) and his daughter Zaya Wade arrive for the "Cheaper by the Dozen" Disney premiere at the El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California, March 16, 2022.


She asked a California court to prevent Zaya, 15, from legally having her name and gender changed and the mother accused her ex-husband of trying to profit off of the child’s brand partnerships in a court document NBC Connecticut obtained.

“I contend that our child should be given the opportunity to decide for themselves at the age of majority if they want to move forward with changing their name and/or gender,” Funches-Wade said in court documents.

She continued:

“I have concerns that Petitioner 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, and will receive based upon Petitioner’s statements to me, on the basis of our child’s name and/or gender change.” 

Wade, who has sole custody of Zaya and his eldest child, filed a Los Angeles County court objection to his ex-wife’s claims on Tuesday and said in a public response that he is “disappointed” she “continuously” finds “ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children.”

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Meet Zaya. She’s compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people. pic.twitter.com/G2lLVdD2VT

— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) February 11, 2020

The father wrote in his Instagram post:

Since this must be the new way of parenting, I guess I have to address these allegations here, which is a damn shame.

While I’m on a life-changing trip in our motherland, Africa, 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 suprised 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 find ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children. This report campe 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!

Siohvaughn tried a similar attempt over a decade ago (with equally damaging lies and causing irreparable harm to her children) and 13 lawyers later, I was awarded sole custody of our two kids as an active NBA player! All I ever wanted was to have my parenting time uninterrupted, as I knew that it would be a very difficult time for our kids to navigate their new normal. So Instead of actually trying to co-parent over the years, she’s left her home to see 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! She won’t doit! 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!

As a woman who claims to be a “good Christian mother,” I’ve yet to see her make any sacrifice or effort to leave her own home to participate in her children’s lives in over a decade. Zaya is not that same 3 year (old) child anymore and she’s screaming that to the world but most importantly to her Mother! 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!

Siohvaughn has decided to pretty much be an absent parent to Zaya ALL ON HER OWN. 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 through the BS! 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 her 14th lawyer as they try to unravel this book of lies thats been sold to them.

Social media responses to the message ran the gamut, with some using the conflict as an opportunity to spread transphobic hate and others weighing in with defenses against the hateful rhetoric. 

It’s no surprise what side Republican commentator Candace Owens fell on.

She tweeted:

“Good morning.

Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union are child abusers. Pretending to love your children while encouraging them to mutilate their bodies via irreversible therapies and cosmetic procedures should warrant prison time. Everybody have a good day.”

Owens is part of a GOP constituency working to tear trans children away from loving and supportive parents and villainizing them for supporting their children. 

RELATED STORY: Parents of trans teens in Texas file lawsuit over Republican-led child abuse investigations

Though a federal judge blocked part of the order, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed child welfare workers earlier this year to investigate as child abuse gender-affirming medical procedures. Similarly, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin introduced rules in September to prevent students from participating in programming that respects their gender identity, The Washington Post reported.

“I don’t know how to describe to somebody that isn’t going through it how it feels to have the anxiety of waking up every morning, not knowing whether your state is going to attack your right to exist,” trans advocate Alyssa MacKenzie told the newspaper.

RELATED STORY: Trans girls can technically play sports in Utah, but they’ll need to be evaluated by a panel first

Arizona, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have passed at least four anti-trans laws since 2018, and Arkansas and Alabama are up to three, the Post reported.

It’s perhaps why so many people found Wade’s public support of his daughter so refreshing. 

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every time I see something going on surrounding Zaya Wade it’s abundantly clear to me that so many people are upset seeing a child being loved for their authentic self and nurtured because many of y’all didn’t have that and are projecting that pain on her instead of getting help.

— ☆.。.:*-𝘨𝘸𝘦𝘯-𝘬𝘩𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘫𝘢𝘩 (@gwenisonline) November 2, 2022

Viral YouTuber Kalen Allen tweeted: “I haven’t seen this man play a day in my life, but I will always be a Dwayne Wade super fan!”

Jon Paul, creator of the Black, Fat, Femme Podcast, tweeted: “I’ve always said that parents can sometimes be your first bullies. I’m so glad Zaya has her father in her corner.”

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Dwayne Wade read his baby mama for filth. I love it.

I don’t see how loving your child out loud means you’re exploiting them. He’s a celebrity. Their lives are always gonna be open to the public wether they want to or not.

— Snorlax Cousin🌹 (@SweeetMolasses) November 3, 2022

Another Twitter user who goes by @heymissjasmine tweeted: “Allowing Zaya Wade a 15 year old girl (to) change her name and gender marker on a birth certificate so that when she gets her drivers license in a couple of months she’ll feel euphoric is great parenting. Saying you want her to wait till she’s 18 is exactly what transphobes say.”

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