Retired NBA player and philanthropist Dwyane Wade filed court papers Thursday morning, petitioning for his transgender daughter to be allowed to officially change her name.
According to Spectrum News, Wade is petitioning for his daughter to be allowed to permanently change her name from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade.
The Los Angeles Superior Court petition filed by Dwyane states that he has full authority to enact decisions on his daughter’s behalf. And that he has notified his former wife and daughter’s mother, Siohvaughn Funches, of the legal action.
During an appearance on The Ellen Show in 2020, Dwyane shared that his daughter had begun using she/her pronouns.
He recounted that Zaya, then 12 years old, had come home and told her family that she wanted to talk. She then asked to be called Zaya instead of Zion.
“We’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self,” Dwyane told Ellen.
Since then, Dwyane has admitted that he fears for his daughter’s safety living as a transgender woman.
“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,” Dwyane told CNN at the TIME100 Summit earlier this year. “And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world.”
Dwyane also took the time to criticize lawmakers who Black transgender athletes from competing in grade school sports aligned with their gender identity. And those who have also acted against enacting gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.
“To me, it’s a joke. This is our life. We live this,” he said. “When you’re out there making rules… you’re not experiencing this. Come and live a day with my daughter. Come and see how it is to walk through this world as her.”
Zaya has also been transparent about her struggles as a young transgender woman.
As previously reported by Blavity, Zaya acknowledges that transphobia “still exists” and is “widely common.”
“There are genuinely people out there who think that you’re a kid, this is a phase, or you don’t actually know what you’re talking about,” she said in an interview with Logo. “I know that I’m trans, and it’s not like one day I just went, ‘I want to try out being trans.’ No. So just suck it up. We are who we are.”