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Dwyane & Zaya Wade start a nonprofit to make “safe spaces” for queer youth of color

Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade, and their family.
Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade, and their family Photo: EllenTube screenshot

NBA star and Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade, alongside his transgender daughter Zaya, is launching a non-profit dedicated to providing queer youth of color a safe space.

The nonprofit, known as Translatable, aims to educate and serve both parents and LGBTQ+ youth. In an Instagram video announcing the project, the Wades state that over the next several months, resources will be posted to the site. However, not much is known about what the resources will specifically entail. The site allows people to sign up for email updates.

Zaya Wade said in the Instagram announcement that the organization will offer “safe spaces for youth to express themselves through a number of creative outlets,” adding, “[It will] focus on communities of color, center the most marginalized, and emphasize the importance of parents and family.”

Dwyane Wade continued, “From our family, we were blessed to have a community of supporters and experts to support Zaya and her journey. We recognize the lack of digestible and relatable information to youth, especially teenagers of color”

“That’s why it’s so important to create a collaborative space for communities to participate in this conversation and express themselves freely,” he continued. “We want to emphasize that the learning never stops.”

Dwyane Wade emphasized his support for Zaya, calling her his “biggest educator and inspiration.”

Translatable is fiscally supported by the Elevate Prize Foundation’s Catalyst Award, a $250,000 grant. All of the money will go towards funding the non-profit.

“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?’,” Wade said to the Associated Press before the grant’s award ceremony. “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.”

Additional funding comes from Elevate Prize Foundation CEO Carolina Garcìa Jayaram, who gave a private donation of her own. The Wade Family Foundation is also providing funding.

“Dwyane Wade and what he represents speaks to the ethos of the whole foundation,” Jayaram told the Associated Press. “He is such a hero in the sports universe and even beyond basketball. He’s been in the social justice space almost since the very beginning of his NBA career and most people don’t know that.”

The Human Rights Campaign and the Trevor Project are both providing backing to Translatable as well.

After Zaya came out as transgender in 2020, the family fled their home state of Florida after it became a safe haven for anti-LGBTQ politicians and activists. Dwyane Wade was concerned for the safety of his daughter Zaya, whose transition he and his wife, Gabrielle Union, unequivocally support.

“We understand that in this state that not everyone thinks the way some others think,” Dwyane Wade said. “Like most things in life, once you get to know them, you have more ability to be understanding. And so if you don’t want to know them, then you stay ignorant in a sense.”

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