Former NBA star Dwyane Wade has been publically accused of exploiting his transgender 15-year-old child for financial gain. This accusation came from Wade’s ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, who worries her child is being pressured into switching genders. She recently filed an objection with a judge to keep her child from being able to formally transition before the age of 18.
Dwyane and Sioghvaughn have two children together, both of whom were born male. One of the children named Zion (now referred to as Zaya), came out to their parents at the age of 12. Zaya has booked modeling contracts with well-known brands like Dove and Tiffany and profited significantly since the publicizing of her gender identity.
Wade told the story of how his now-daughter Zaya came out to him and his ex-wife in 2012 on an Elle Degeneres episode, where he said, “Our 12-year-old came home… and said, ‘Hey I want to you guys. I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth and I was to be referenced as she and her and I would love for you guys to call me Zara.”
Now Wade is helping Zaya, 15, to change her name and gender on her official birth certificate. The petition for Zaya to legally change her name from Zion was filed in August.
After finding out about the petition, Funches filed court documents begging a judge to halt this process and make it so Zaya must wait until the age of 18 to make these official decisions.
“I have concerns that (Dwyane) 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,” Funches-Wade said in the court filings, insisting that her ex-husband is “poised” to profit from Zaya’s transition.
Funches claims that, in April, Wade told her that he “intended to make [their] child very famous due to the name and gender issue.” Wade also told her that “a lot of money had already been made.”
“(Dwyane) told me that he intended to make our child very famous due to the name and gender issues and also informed me that there would be endorsements/contracts associated therewith,” added Funches. “I am concerned that our child is being commercialized at a young age and also of the uncontrollable consequences of media exposure i.e., cyberbullying, statements and/or pictures taken out of context of our child, and the unwanted spotlight focus on our child.”
Funches also insists that per the child custody Wade is legally obligated to consult with her on “major decisions affecting care, welfare, activities, health, education and religious upbringing.”
Wade has maintained that he is completely entitled to make these decisions on behalf of Zaya, whether or not Funches agrees. The former NBA player reported that he only sent his ex-wife a notice of this petition “as a courtesy.”
A hearing on the matter of Zaya’s legal name and sex change is scheduled to take place in December.