Dwyane Wade Has Words for His Ex-Wife Over Her Objection to Daughter Zaya’s Name Change

Dwyane Wade‘s inner protective papa is out on full display today, and he is not messing around.

Following his ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches-Wade’s allegations that he’s trying to “profit” from their daughter Zaya‘s “name and gender change,” the former NBA player made a heated statement on his Instagram.

The dad of four wrote, “Since this must be the new way of parenting, I guess I have to address these allegations here, which is a damn shame.” He continued, “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.”


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“While none of us are surprised 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[s] ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children,” Wade wrote.

He continued, “This report came 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.”

Wade continued his statement, writing, “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!”

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The passionate dad explained, “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 and has taken the time to talk to 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.”

Clearly at his wits’ end, Wade 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.”

Putting it plainly, Wade wrote, “As a woman who claims to be a ‘good Christian mother,’ I’ve yet to see her make any sacrifice or effort to participate in her children’s lives in over a decade.”

His love and protectiveness of his daughter are palpable, and his frustration is equally so: “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.”

Hammering his point home, Wade continued, “This isn’t a game for my family and definitely not for Zaya. This is her life! All the while my wife [Gabrielle Union-Wade] and our village has been her rock in helping her pick up the pieces after heartbreak after heartbreak.”

He verbalized his grievances further, writing, “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!”

The former professional athlete poignantly concluded, “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 the 14th lawyer as they try to unravel this book of lies that’s been sold to them.”

Shew — that is a dad and a man if we’ve ever seen one. Wade has been fiercely supportive of his daughter throughout her transition journey, first speaking publicly about her identifying as transgender in a 2020 appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

He explained to Degeneres, “Me and my wife are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we are proud allies as well. We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously. So when our child comes home with a question, when a child comes home with an issue, when a child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information that we can, to give them the best feedback that we can — and that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”

Wade continued, “So once Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home — first Zion, I don’t know if everyone knows, originally named Zion, born as a boy — came home and said, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth. I want to be referenced as she and her, I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.’”

“So internally, it’s now our job to go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have — my wife reached out to everybody on the cast of Pose — we’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self,” he continued.

Wade concluded, “Once Zaya came home and said, ‘I want you to call me Zaya and I’m ready to take on this,’ I looked at her and said, ‘You are a leader. And this is our opportunity to allow you to be a voice.’ Right now it’s through us, because she’s 12 years old, but eventually it will be through her.”

The protective dad also told Robin Roberts during a 2020 appearance on Good Morning America, “[Zaya has] known [she identifies as female] for nine years. She’s known since she was 3 years old. Along this way, we’ve asked questions and we’ve learned. But she’s known.”

Fulfilling his duty to unconditionally support his daughter, Wade filed a petition on Zaya’s behalf to have her name legally changed in August, which Funches-Wade is now asking the court that Zaya make the decision herself when she turns 18, or the “age of majority,” in two and a half years, citing that “there will likely be media pressure on the minor child” to make the change.

For a girl who has known her true identity for 12 years and has been publicly going by her preferred name for 3 years, we’re in total agreement with Wade — Zaya isn’t changing her name due to “media pressure,” and it’s insulting that her mother would suggest so. She’s legally changing her name because she deserves to have the world address her as she is, and her mother is fracturing their already strained relationship even further by hanging on to the last dregs of a person that Zaya has never truly been.

These celeb parents are so proud of their LGBTQ kids.

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