Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwyane Wade used their platform on Saturday to stand up for and shine a light on the rights of the LGBTQ and transgender community. The couple was honored with the President’s Awards at the NAACP Image Awards just one day after their daughter Zaya’s name change and the changes of sex markers on her legal documents were legally approved.
“[Friday] was a big day for Zaya Wade,” Wade told Variety. “And we wanted to make sure that the person who kickstarted us to even have an opportunity to be on this stage, heard directly from us.”
Union and Wade were being honored for their philanthropic support of the LGBTQ community, and Wade started his portion of the acceptance speech by saying he and his wife are two people who have “worked tirelessly” in order to have resources, access, platforms, and microphones that can help uplift the voices of others. He took the time to speak to his daughter, Zaya and to tell her that as a father, all he’s wanted to do is “get it right.”
“I’ve sat back and watched how gracefully you have taken on the public scrutiny,” the proud father of four said. “And even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of that house every morning as yourself. I admire how you’ve handled the ignorance in our world. I admire that you face every day.”
“To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement,” he continued.
The former NBA player went on to say that his job as a father isn’t to create a version of himself or direct Zaya’s future, but to be “a facilitator” of “her hopes, her wishes, and her dreams.”
“You’ve made me a better human just simply by being who you were born to be,” he said. “Our baby girl. Thank you for showing the world what courage looks like.”
Union then stepped up to the microphone and asked that the NAACP face “a very new era of activism.”
“A new era that demands our collective answer to one simple question: Will we fight for some? Or will we fight for all of our people?” she said, garnering a round of applause.
She went on to name “a couple of hard truths.”
“First, the intersection of Black rights and the rights of the LGBTQIA, trans, and gender non-conforming people continues to be a huge understatement, even as we demand equality at the top of our lungs,” she said. “We consistently fail to extend our advocacy to protect some of our most vulnerable among us.”
“And second, Black trans people are being targeted, terrorized and hunted in this country. Every day, everywhere. And there’s rarely a whisper about.”
Though the couple was being honored as activists, Union said she and her husband do this work simply as parents who love their children and will do whatever they can to keep them “seen and safe and secure.” She urged people to have conversations about LGBTQ rights in ways that “build bridges.”
“That don’t drive more young people to hate themselves or harm themselves. That don’t cost people their lives.”
Union closed the acceptance speech by saying she and Wade are “humbled and hopeful” for the future.
“We are hopeful that we may witness a real shift in the fight for justice. The moment the movement makes room for everyone. Everyone.”
These celeb parents are so proud of their LGBTQ kids.
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