Dwyane Wade and his daughter Zaya launch a digital safe space for transgender youth

Wade says he's “damn proud of" his daughter as the two prepare to launch Translatable, an online platform to support LGBTQ+ youth and their families.

(Left to right) Zaya Wade and her father, Dwyane Wade, attend "When We Gather: A Night of Stand-Up Comedy Curated by Dwyane Wade" during the Netflix is a Joke Fest on May 9 at The Miracle Theater in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Netflix)

This week, Dwyane Wade received a new addition to his collection of awards and accolades. On May 23, the NBA Hall of Famer received the Elevate Prize Catalyst Award for his advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community, specifically transgender rights. 

“With heartfelt gratitude, I accept the Elevate Prize Catalyst Award and share this honor with my daughter Zaya,” Wade told the Elevate Prize Foundation. 

Since 2020, when his then-12-year-old daughter publicly came out as transgender, Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, have served as the now-teenager’s biggest supporters. Despite being praised for his unwavering public support of his daughter, Wade remains humble about his advocacy. 

“Sports is something you can expect an award from,” Wade told People. “But this one right here is not one of those things that I would expect to get an award for. I’m just a parent doing what a good parent should do.“

“This is a Wade family award,” he shared. “This is just part of the Wade family, all the things that we do … We feel that in this space, to make the world a better place, you have to have acceptance.”

Recognizing prominent individuals who use their influence to inspire social action, the Elevate Prize Catalyst Award provides $250,000 in funding for recipients to continue their impactful work. With the award’s funds, Wade and the Wade Family Foundation have launched Translatable, a new digital platform designed to be a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth to express themselves.

The newly launched site has reportedly been years in the making. For the last few years, Zaya has been working with her father on Translatable while simultaneously being a model, influencer and high school student. The father-daughter duo began working on the platform when Zaya was 14, just two years after her coming-out catapulted her into the spotlight. 

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“As your father, all I’ve wanted to do is get it right. I’ve sat back and watched how gracefully you’ve taken on public scrutiny … I admire how you handle the ignorance in our world,” said Wade to Zaya during his speech at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards, where he and Union received the President’s Award. “As your father, my job isn’t to create a version of myself that directs your future. My role is to be a facilitator to your hopes, your wishes, your dreams.” 

His pride for his daughter continued to grow as he watched the teenager work on Translatable. 

“She just wanted to be a kid and do kid things and live her life and be selfish and worry about herself. That’s what you’re supposed to do at her age, worry about you,” he told People. “But she’s thinking about a larger community, and so I’m damn proud of her as a father.”

“Translatable aims to serve as a community safe space for youth to express themselves through a number of creative outlets,” Zaya said in a video introducing the Translatable project. “Here at Translatable, we focus on communities of color, center the most marginalized, and emphasize the importance of parents and family.” 

Understanding the lack of digestible and relatable information available to LGBTQ+ youth and families — especially amongst communities of color — Wade notes that Translatable will also be a resource hub for parents and families of LGBTQ+ youth. Over the next few months, its website will begin rolling out content, including resource guides and interactive features. 

With the launch of the new platform and his work at the Wade Foundation, the former NBA star says he hopes to ensure that all kids feel accepted and “have an opportunity to live this life that we all get to live.” 

“I’m very proud of the daughter I’ve had the opportunity to raise,” Wade added in the video. “She has been my biggest educator and inspiration for what it means to be true to you. That’s why it’s so important to create a collaborative space for the community to participate in conversation and express themselves freely.”