Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade Give Passionate Speech on Black Trans Rights

gabrielle union and dwyane wade at the 54th naacp image awards held at the pasadena civic auditorium on february 25, 2023 in pasadena, california photo by gilbert floresvariety via getty images
The Union-Wades Give Speech on Black Trans RightsGilbert Flores - Getty Images

Gabriele Union-Wade and Dwayne Wade used their platform to advocate for the Black trans and LGBTQ community during last night's NAACP Image Awards.

The superstar couple were received NAACP's President's Award during yesterday's ceremony at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, in honor of their continued advocacy for social justice and the Black community. During their speech, the Union-Wades called for raised awareness on issues faced by Black trans people, including their daughter, Zaya Wade.

The retired NBA star began the speech with a touching message directly addressing Zaya, who came out as trans in 2020 and has openly spoken about the hateful messages she receives online.

"Zaya, as your father, all I've wanted to do was get it right," he said. "I've sat back and watched how gracefully you have taken on the public scrutiny. And even though it's not easy, I watched you walk out of the house every morning as yourself. I admire how you handle the ignorance in our world…that you face every day. To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement."

He continued, "Thank you for showing me that there's more than one way to communicate effectively. You taught me that communication with your mouth isn't enough. I have to also communicate with my two ears and my two eyes. As your father, my job is not to create a version of myself or direct your future. My role is to be a facilitator to your hopes, your wishes and your dreams."

The Truth Be Told actress then addressed the crowd of Black luminaries gathered to celebrate a legacy of activism, stating that they all stand at the beginning of "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 continued, "Let's just name a couple hard truths. First, the intersection of Black rights and the rights of the LGBTQIA, trans and gender-nonconforming people continues to be rough — that’s a huge understatement. Even as we demand equality at the top of our lungs, 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 it."

The Truth Be Told actress finished her speech by calling for a shift in the fight for justice that can encompass all members of the Black community, while also nodding back to her and Wade's desire to protect her family.

"We honestly don't approach this work as activists or leaders as much as we do this as parents. Parents who love our children and will do whatever the hell we can to keep them seen, secured and safe. This is a conversation worth having in ways that actually build bridges; that don’t fan the flame of hatred or division; that don’t enable lawmakers or justice systems to look the other way when Black trans people are under attack; that don’t drive more young people to hate themselves or harm themselves; that don’t cost people their lives."

"So we are humbled and we are hopeful for the future. I’m hopeful, we are hopeful that we may witness a real shift in the fight for justice, the moment, the movement makes room for everyone," she concluded.

You Might Also Like