Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade — who received the 2023 NAACP’s President Award on Saturday during the organization’s Image Awards, which paid homage to their public service — advocated for the Black LGBTQ+ community during their acceptance speech.
Their daughter, Zaya Wade, is transgender. Wade spoke of her making him a “better human” as he opened the speech. She came out as trans in 2020.
“I want to take this moment to publicly speak to our daughter Zaya. As your father, all I’ve wanted to do is get it right. I’ve sat back and watch how gracefully you’ve taken on public scrutiny. And even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of the house every morning,” the former NBA superstar said.
“To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement. Thank you for showing me that there’s more than just one way to communicate effectively. You’ve taught me that communication with my mouth isn’t enough,” he continued.
“I have to also communicate with my two ears and to use my two eyes. 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.”
“Let’s just 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 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,” she continued.
“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 and secure and safe.