The topic of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression is one that remains highly contentious in our society today. Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade knows this firsthand, having witnessed his daughter Zaya’s growth over the years which has led her to come out as transgender during late 2019. In fact, Wade has been nothing but supportive of his daughter, going as far as filing a court petition to have the child born as Zion Wade change her legal name to Zaya, as it is the name the 15-year old identifies as.
However, Wade’s first spouse and Zaya’s mother, Siohvaughn Funches, believes that something more sinister is going on behind the scenes. In recent days, Funches suspected that the three-time NBA champion is merely trying to profit off of his daughter’s name and gender change and that the 40-year-old retired shooting guard must wait until their child is of legal age for her to file the petition herself, according to Today.com.
This prompted Dwyane Wade to denounce his ex-wife’s allegations in a comprehensive Instagram post, the gist of it being that Funches’ assertions are harmful and only fans the fuel of hatred the much-maligned child is already facing on a daily basis.
“I’ve received a social media post about me forcing out 15 year old child to be someone she’s not and to do something against her will. These are serious and harmful allegations that have hurt our children,” Wade wrote.
“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 This isn’t a game for my family and definitely not for Zaya. This is her life!”
Dwyane Wade’s full statement can be read below:
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Wade filed for a divorce from Funches in 2007, and in 2011, a court ruling awarded Wade custody of their two children, Zaire and Zaya. The ruling was scathing in its criticism of Funches’ behavior back then, having stated that she “lacks either the ability or the willingness to facilitate, let alone encourage, a close and continuing relationship between [Wade, herself, and their children].” And this is yet another instance of Funches trying to sow conflict between Wade and his children.
Nonetheless, the emotional well-being of his daughter is what matters the most to Dwyane Wade, and he even asserted that Funches is guilty of considerable neglect.
“As a woman who claims to be a ‘good Christian mother’, I’ve yet to see her make any sacrifice or effort to leave her own home to participate in her children’s lives in over a decade,” Wade added, “I’ve given her the opportunity to reach out to Zaya’s teachers, doctors and therapist over the years and even meet her friends so she could get her own understanding of our child’s needs for her LIFE! She won’t do it!”
Only time will tell who the court ruling ends up favoring, with a resolution to the case expected to come on December 12.