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With the support of G.O.A.T. Girl Dad Dwyane Wade and stellar step-mom Gabrielle Uniontheir trans daughter Zaya Wade legally transitioned with an official name and gender change.

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The activist and influencer lived her truth out loud for years, and now the law correctly recognizes her. TMZ reports a judge granted the 15-year-old’s request for a gender-affirming change of her legal name and gender on Friday.

Zaya has gone by her chosen name and she/her pronouns since she publicly came out as trans in 2020. A Los Angeles Superior Court granted the petition for her paperwork to reflect her new name, Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade.

Even with the perks and privileges of celebrity parents, going through adolescence and self-discovery in the public eye is never easy. While close-minded critics questioned the family’s transparency about the teen’s identity, it’s not like the press or the internet allowed her to navigate it privately. Gabrielle revealed Zaya “felt outed” by the scrutiny and speculation about her gender when she was only ten years old.

“As Zaya gathered more language she was able to tell us about her identity,” the actress shared told Taraji P. Henson on Peace of Mind with Taraji  “She was able to tell us about her sexuality and she was able to tell us ‘I’m trans.’”

“And she says ‘I’ve come out a few times…I came out to my teacher in the 3rd grade, and when you guys posted that picture of me, in Chicago at my birthday party,’ and it’s just Zaya standing next to her cake and that picture was dissected on certain Black blogs and the comments were guessing as to who Zaya was and why…she said ‘I felt like I was outed, and I was just standing next to my cake.’

Dwyane Wade Defended Zaya’s Legal Transition Against Her Estranged Mother’s Bigoted Bashing

Unfortunately, for many young Black queer people like Zaya, their first bully is right at home. In addition to harassment from washed-up celebrities, Zaya’s own mother spoke against the petition to change her name and gender identity legally.

In November, Dwyane’s ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches filed paperwork to block the changes. She accused Zaya’s dad of “trying to make money off” their child’s “name and gender change.” It’s a sick accusation considering how queer youth are under attack from the GOP. Black transgender people statistically suffer higher rates of physical violence, suicide, and lack of access to medical and mental health care.

Dwyane clapped back when his bitter ex fired shots in court and the court of public opinion. He clarified that he filed the petition to legally affirm Zaya’s identity so that she could “live more comfortably and honesty in all aspects of her life-from simple introductions and food orders, to applying for a driver’s license and filling out college applications.”

“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 wrote.

“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.”

For the critics, including Funches, he added, “This is a kid who has maintained a 4.0 GPA in honors classes while navigating all this 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. I think we have to continue to grow as parents and understand that our kids’ lives are not just about us. We didn’t have them to be a mini version of us. They’re going to become who they are in this world, and it’s our job to find that out.”

The Family That Slays Together Stays Together

The blended Wade family, including big brother Zaire Wade, leads by example with unwavering respect, love, and acceptance for Zaya. Empowering who Zaya is and wants to be in the world is a bigger priority than forcing her to conform to anyone else’s expectations. Gabrielle gushed about taking Zaya to her first Pride parade in Maimi. Last year, Dwayne proudly praised his daughter for choosing to help others instead of partying for Pride.

“She made it very clear to our family that she didn’t want to ‘celebrate’ Pride Month — she wanted to make sure that we can help other families and provide for the families in the LGBTQIA community,” the retired NBA star told People

When asked what he learned from Zaya’s leadership, Dwyane added, “I think the most important thing [is] she continues to show us what courage looks like every day. It’s just that patience and that calmness, and just the intelligence to know that she has a lot of people behind her that will do whatever to make sure that she gets to live the life that she was born to live.”

Congratulations, Zaya Wade!


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