Despite using her chosen name since 2020, Zaya is now officially known as Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade following a decision entered by the Los Angeles Superior Court.
The 15-year-old’s transition was also given official approval by the judge, enabling her sex markers on documents to reflect her gender identity, TMZ reported.
This news follows some tension between her father, former NBA superstar Dwyane Wade, and mother, Siohvaughn, who objected to Zaya’s request to change her name and gender. Siohvaughn said last year that Dwyane was trying to “profit” from Zaya’s journey.
Dwyane Wade's Daughter Zaya Granted Name Change and Legal Transition in Court https://t.co/7QZBeiFlEo
— People (@people) February 25, 2023
Zaya has had the unwavering support of her stepmother, actress Gabrielle Union, 50, and her father, so Dwyane wasn’t letting those allegations rock.
In a statement on Instagram, Wade wrote, “I’ve received a social media post about me forcing our 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.”
He continued, “While none of us are surprised by Siohvaughn’s attempt to fight Zaya’s identity and her unwavering attempt to drag my name through the mud, I’m very disappointed that she continuously find[s] ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children.”
Dwyane said that Zaya had to deal with “unsolicited and harmful attention and debates about her gender and sexuality from those who are committed to not listening to her, much less even knowing her,” which he considered “a major source of stress in her life.”
Regarding Zaya’s relationship with Siohvaughn, Dwyane asserted that since their divorce, she had spent more time fighting with him than she had “spoken and listened to” their daughter. According to People, he has also previously mentioned that he has encouraged her to meet Zaya’s teachers, doctors and therapists over the years, and her friends to better understand her children’s needs, but she has declined.
In an Instagram post, Dwyane expressed that Zaya has given her mother every chance to get to know her. Still, sadly, she has refused to attend any of her daughter’s school events, including recitals, graduations, school dances, play dates, practices, parent-teacher conferences, etc.
Zaya’s journey has also received encouragement from Gabrielle Union, Dwyane’s wife.
“It’s our job to be loving, compassionate, protective guides for our children, but their lives are their lives, and we have to respect that,” she told BuzzFeed.
At the 54th annual NAACP Image Awards, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade gave a compelling acceptance speech after receiving the President’s Awards. As Blavity reported, the couple spoke out on behalf of Zaya and other transgender people who frequently experience prejudice and discrimination.
Dwyane expressed gratitude to his daughter for encouraging him to improve.
“As your father, all I’ve wanted to do was get it right,” Dwyane said. “I’ve sat back and watched how gracefully you’ve taken on public scrutiny. And even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of that house every morning. As yourself. I admire how you’ve handled the ignorance in our world. I admire that you face every day. To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement.”
Zaya’s mother has remained silent following the legal name change. However, Zaya did upload this clear and simple yet beautiful photo to Instagram with the caption “running late.”
Zaya, congratulations! Keep shining and being who you truly are.