LOS ANGELES – Retired NBA star Dwyane Wade has filed new court papers defending his decision to ask a judge to allow his 15-year-old transgender daughter to change her name from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade, denying his ex-wife’s allegations he is doing it for his own self-interests.
Wade’s Los Angeles Superior Court petition, filed last Aug. 22, states that he has full authority to make decisions on his daughter’s behalf and that he notified his former wife, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade — the girl’s mother – – of the legal action as a courtesy. The court papers state the teen lives in Hidden Hills.
But on Nov. 1, Funches-Wade alleged in her court papers that Wade is “positioned to profit” from the name change and expressed concerns that he may be pressuring Zaya for financial gain. Then, in a sworn declaration filed Feb. 17 with Judge Curtis A. Kin — who is scheduled to hold the latest hearing in the case Friday — Wade took issue with his ex-spouse’s allegations about his motivations.
“I object to the allegation that anyone is pressuring or incentivizing Zaya to proceed with this petition,” Wade says. “I further object to any allegation that suggests this petition was motivated by financial gain or the pursuit of fame.”
For many years, Zaya has made it clear to her family and friends that her given name and assigned gender do not reflect who she is or how she identifies, according to Wade.
“Zaya has identified as Zaya since she was 12 years old and she now wants to legally and officially change her name and gender to conform with how she identifies,” Wade says. “I believe that it is in Zaya’s best interest for her official documents to reflect who she is and how she sees herself, both in terms of her name and gender. I believe that the requested relief would allow Zaya to live more comfortably and authentically in all aspects of her life.”