Wade, 40, submitted legal documents that requested his child’s name is officially changed from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade, according to documents obtained by Us Weekly. The Blast was first to report the news.
The petition is only signed by Wade, not Zaya’s mother Siohvaughn Funches. The filing states that the athlete “has full authority to make decisions on behalf of the petitioning minor, and he is not required to receive consent from Ms. Funches-Wade. As a courtesy, Ms. Funches-Wade has received notice of this petition.”
The professional basketball player first opened up about his daughter’s journey in February 2020. “First of all, me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re proud allies as well,” Wade said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, adding, “We take our roles and our responsibilities as parents very seriously.”
During the appearance, Wade recalled the first time Zaya, 15, explained her experience as a transgender woman to him.
“[She] said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward, I’m ready to live my truth. And I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you guys to call me Zaya,’” he explained at the time. “Now it’s our job to one, go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have. 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.”
The athlete also noted that it was a parent’s job “to listen” to their children and to “give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can. And that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”
Wade shares Zaya and son Zaire, 20, with Funches. In 2013, the former NBA player became a dad to son Xavier, whom he shares with Aja Metoyer. After tying the knot with Union, 49, the couple welcomed their daughter, Kaavia, via a surrogate in November 2018.
Earlier this year, Wade admitted he is still worried about Zaya’s experience as a Black transgender woman.
“As blessed as it is for my daughter to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves the house,” he told CNN in June. “And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world. To me, it’s a joke. This is our life. We live this. When you’re out there making rules, if you’re not experiencing this. Come and live a day with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.”
That same month, Wade praised his child for choosing to help others in the LGBTQIA+ community. “My family, we’re not celebrating [Pride]. Zaya made it very clear that she [doesn’t] want to celebrate Pride. I think every day for her, having a loving, supportive community around her is her celebratory moment,” he exclusively told Us Weekly.
He added: “But the biggest thing is my daughter said, ‘We want to be able to help other families.’ So throughout our foundations, we try to make sure we are helping the LGBTQIA+ community. That’s how we celebrate.”
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