Dwyane Wade and daughter Zaya unveil new project for transgender youth and families

transgender model Zaya Wade daughter Dwayne Wade basketball star
transgender model Zaya Wade daughter Dwayne Wade basketball star

NBA Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade and his transgender daughter, Zaya, have launched the Translatable Project, an online resource for trans youth and their families, especially those of color.

The father and daughter introduced Translatable in an Instagram video. It offers a safe space “for youth to express themselves through a number of creative outlets” and will “focus on communities of color, center the most marginalized, and emphasize the importance of parents and family,” Zaya Wade said.

The Wade family was fortunate to have resources to help support Zaya in her journey, but not everyone has access to those, Dwyane Wade said. “That’s why it’s so important to create a collaborative space for communities to participate in this conversation and express themselves freely. ... We want to emphasize that the learning never stops.”

He is very proud of Zaya, who has been his “biggest educator and inspiration,” he said.

Zaya, who will be 17 next week, came out as trans four years ago. Last year, the Wade family left Florida, where Dwyane had been a star for the Miami Heat, and moved to California because Florida wasn’t a good environment for trans people and their families, he told the Associated Press Thursday.

He was in Miami to accept the Elevate Prize Foundation’s Catalyst Award. At the ceremony, he said Zaya was the driving force behind Translatable. “The question was presented to her as, ‘If you have one thing that you want to see change in this community, what would it be?’” he said, according to the AP. “And for her, it goes right to parents. It goes right to the adults. It goes right to us. It’s not the kids. It’s us. And so she wanted to create a space that felt safe for parents and their kids. That’s what Translatable is, and it’s her baby.”

He will use the $250,000 grant that comes with the award to support Translatable, in addition to funding from his Wade Family Foundation, he said. The Human Rights Campaign and the Trevor Project are also behind Translatable.

Alexander Roque, executive director of the Ali Forney Center, praised Dwyane Wade for putting his celebrity power behind trans youth in a year when more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, many of them specifically anti-trans, have been introduced in state legislatures around the nation.

“Not all bills turn into law, but they’re all acts of hate that affect our kids in very devastating ways,” he told the AP. “We know statistically that every time there’s an anti-LGBTQ bill in the media, there’s a 400 percent increase in calls to suicide hotlines by young people. We also know that we’re seeing a significant increase in unhoused LGBTQ youth because of family rejection. So to have someone of this celebrity so invested in the community, it’s helping to change the tide of what’s happening to our kids and perhaps one of the most hopeful moments in what I hope is a changing tide.”