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Dwyane Wade Defends Daughter Zaya Against Ex-Wife’s ‘Serious And Harmful’ Claims

Dwyane Wade is refuting his ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches-Wade’s “serious and harmful allegations” about his support of their daughter Zaya, who is transgender.

On Tuesday, Funches-Wade filed a petition asking a California court to prevent her former spouse from allowing Zaya, 15, to legally change her name and gender on her birth certificate.

In court documents obtained by E! News and other publications, she accused the retired NBA star of “pressuring” their child to “move forward with the name and gender change in order to capitalize on the financial opportunities that he has received from companies,” including Disney.

Elsewhere in the petition, Funches-Wade argued that Zaya should “make this monumental decision” for herself when she’s “at the age of majority, which is two and one-half years away.”

Wade responded to the petition Thursday morning in an emotional and strongly-worded Instagram post. In it, he accused Funches-Wade of making “a mockery of my dedication to my family,” adding that his ex-wife was an “absent parent” who had not made “any sacrifice or effort to participate in her children’s lives in over a decade.”

“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,” he wrote. “This isn’t a game for my family and definitely not for Zaya. This is her life!”

As of Thursday afternoon, Wade’s post had received more than 290,000 likes and was praised by many of his famous friends, including WNBA player Candace Parker and NFL veteran R.K. Russell.

Wade and Funches-Wade were married from 2002 to 2010. In addition to Zaya, the former couple shares a 20-year-old son, Zaire.

Wade first confirmed Zaya’s gender identity ― with her consent ― while appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2020 to promote his ESPN documentary, “D. Wade: Life Unexpected.” At the time, he said that he and his current wife, Gabrielle Union, were “proud allies” who were determined to offer Zaya “the best opportunity to be her best self.”

Zaya (left) and Dwyane Wade.
Zaya (left) and Dwyane Wade.
CHRIS DELMAS via Getty Images

Since then, Wade and Union have established themselves as staunch LGBTQ rights advocates. At the Time 100 summit in June, Wade said he feared for his daughter’s safety following the passage of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education ― or “Don’t Say Gay” ― bill and other anti-LGBTQ legislation across the U.S.

“As blessed as my daughter is to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves our house, not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world,” he said. “We’re not going to close the book on anyone being gay, bisexual, transgender ― we can’t close the book on that.”

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