The ex-wife of former NBA superstar Dwyane Wade is asking a judge to stop their 15-year-old biological son from a gender transition, and accusing the future Hall of Famer of exploiting the child, according to a report.
Legal documents obtained by The Blast show Siohvaughn Funches-Wade is seeking to block her 15-year-old child Zaya, previously known as Zion, from legally changing name and gender until reaching age 18. The child came out as transgender in 2020, and has received lucrative modeling contracts with brands including Tiffany and Dove. Funches-Wade said Zaya is currently in talks with Disney, and said the retired cager is pushing the transition because he stands to make money.
“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 asserted in the legal filing.
At least one parent cares about this child, and I think this lawsuit could be significant. Also a textbook example of the evil of childhood transitioning. Started at 12, monetized in a big way.https://t.co/xPcsbCd6VD
— Faye Hausendorff (@FayeH321) November 2, 2022
Funches-Wade and Wade divorced in 2010. He has since married actress Gabrielle Union, and the couple have frequently discussed their enthusiastic embrace of Zaya’s transition.
Funches-Wade made the plea in response to a filing by Wade to allow Zaya to legally change names from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade. Wade said it was his call, and that he was only notifying his ex-wife “as a courtesy.”
Funches-Wade claims the former couple’s final custody order from an Illinois court states the two “shall discuss with and obtain input in the major decisions affecting care, welfare, activities, health, education and religious upbringing” of their two children.
Funches-Wade’s attorney, Mark Gross, said Wade is “positioned to profit from the minor child’s name and gender change with various companies through contacts and marketing opportunities including but not limited to deals with Disney.”
Funches-Wade said her ex-husband told her Zaya’s transition is a ticket to fame and money.
“(Dwyane) told me that he intended to make our child very famous due to the name and gender issue and also informed me that there would be endorsements/contracts associated therewith,” she wrote in the court documents. “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 focused on our child.”
Wade, who retired in 2019, and his ex were married in 2002 and also have a 20-year-old son, Zaire.
A hearing for Zaya’s identity change is scheduled for December.
Wade told People magazine in a past interview that Zaya’s transition is an inspiration.
“When I look at Zaya, it gives me hope because I’m like, okay, we raised [our kids] to be authentic,” he said.