Dwyane Wade Takes Big Step To Help Daughter Be Her True Self

Dwyane Wade has been his daughter Zaya Wade's biggest supporter since she announced that she was transgender. As the proud dad explained to The Ellen DeGeneres Show back in 2020, Zaya was 12 when she came home and told him and stepmom Gabrielle Union that she identified as a girl. 

As the former NBA star recalled, Zaya said, "I think going forward, I'm ready to live my truth, and I want to be referenced as she and her. I'd love for you guys to call me Zaya.'" Not only were her parents accepting, but they instantly began learning how to raise a transgender child, even reaching out to the cast of "Pose" for help and advice. Dwyane reiterated the importance of being open and eager to learn in an Instagram Live with TODAY in November 2021, saying, "If I don't know something in this life, especially if it comes from my children, then it's my job to go and learn these things." That includes asking questions and talking openly with Zaya whom he called "one of the greatest teachers of my life."

However, it's not always easy. In June 2022, Dwyane told TIME 100 Summit that he worries about Zaya constantly. "As blessed as it is for my daughter to have parents who can support her, I'm still afraid every moment she leaves the house," he shared. "And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world." It's something he's working to change and now, he's taken another big step to show his support.

Dwyane Wade is supporting his daughter in a big way

During his appearance at the TIME 100 Summit, Dwyane Wade criticized lawmakers who want to ban gender-affirming medical care, who have stopped trans youth from competing in sports, and who support legislation like Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law, per TIME. He is also pushing lawmakers, and everyone, to learn what it really means to be LGBTQ+ before passing judgment. He mused, "Come and live a day with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her."

And Wade isn't just talking the talk. In addition to embarking on his own learning journey, the basketball star has taken yet another major step in supporting a now 15-year-old Zaya Wade. According to The Blast, Wade has asked a Los Angeles County Court judge to officially recognize Zaya as a female and to legally change her name to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade. According to the court filing, which the outlet obtained, the proud papa also revealed that while he had told his ex-wife and Zaya's mother, Siohvaughn Funches, of the petition, he wasn't legally bound to get her permission. "Pursuant to the terms of the Final Custody Judgment, [Wade] has full authority to make decisions on behalf of the petitioning minor, and he is not required to receive consent from Ms. Funches-Wade," the document reads. As for the reason for the change, the petition lists it as "To conform with gender identity." As of writing, Wade's request is now pending.