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Gabrielle Union & Dwyane Wade Honor Daughter Zaya & Trans Lives at GLAAD Awards

Thursday night’s GLAAD Media Awards looked a little different than in years past, held virtually, with prerecorded segments from presenters’ and recipients’ homes. But one thing unchanged about the ceremony was how it provided a platform for LGBTQ+ stars and their allies to make some beautiful, empowering speeches. Presenters Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade used their presenting speech to give a shout to their transgender daughter Zaya Wade for what she has taught them.

“We stand as allies with the LGBTQ+ community as proud parents of a transgender child,” Wade said before the couple presented the award for Outstanding Drama Series in front of some kind of barn. “Our daughter Zaya is leading us on our journey, and we’re doing all we can to give every one of our kids the ability to live their truth. I didn’t always understand how to do that, but I want to thank Zaya for teaching me and GLAAD for elevating the images and messages that accelerate acceptance in every family.”

Union continued with a message directed at everyone outside the LGBTQ+ community.

“That mission means more to us now that we raise all of our Black children,” she said. “Black lives matter, and Black trans lives matter. We are calling on all our racial justice warriors out there to open your hearts and your minds to the LGBTQ+ community, so that we can work together to empower each other and save lives.”

In a year when the Human Rights Campaign has reported that at least 25 transgender and gender-noncomforming people, most of them Black, have been murdered as of July, messages like Union’s are all the more important.

Wade and Union — who was stunning in an orange leather jacket with oversize sleeves over nothing but a bodysuit — then announced Pose as the winner. This was quite fitting, given that earlier this year, when Wade told Ellen DeGeneres about how Zaya came out to her parents, he said that Union contacted her friends at Pose for advice.

“Internally, now it’s our job to go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have — my wife reached out to everybody on the cast of Pose,” he said. “We’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self.”

In their prerecorded award acceptance speech, the Pose cast made a case for the show’s relevance today.

“Since Pose aired in 2018 our goal, aside from shaking up the TV landscape, was to honor our community, to center Black and Latinx trans and queer people unapologetically, to be our own heroes. Pose is a love letter to our forebears and to ourselves, putting us at the center to tell a story of resilience, love, and family. A message more important now, during a current climate where Black and Latinx communities continue to be disproportionately affected by a global pandemic and unjustly targeted and harmed by law enforcement. But let’s be very, very clear: Our lives matter. … Black lives matter.”

These other celebrity parents have been at the forefront of teaching us how to talk to our children about race.

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