In this current climate of growing hostility and institutionalized ignorance towards the LGBTQ+ community, particularly towards queer and trans children, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade’s acceptance speech at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards was crucial. The speech emphasized the need for support and protection for the Black transgender community and highlighted their own trans daughter, Zaya.
Union spoke about the NAACP’s role in leading us through over a century of challenges, pain, triumphs, and changes, and the need for collective action to fight for all people. She highlighted the targeting, terrorizing, and hunting of Black trans people in the US, which is rarely acknowledged. Union and Wade spoke not just as activists and leaders but as parents who love their children and will do whatever they can to keep them seen, secure, and safe.
Wade expressed his admiration for Zaya’s graceful handling of public scrutiny and her bravery in living openly as a transgender teen. The couple’s advocacy is particularly admirable given the increased scrutiny placed on their parenting of a trans child, and the high rates of discrimination faced by Black transgender and gender-nonconforming people within the LGBTQ+ community.
Right-wing politicians and activists often ignore the issues faced by queer and trans children, making Union and Wade’s public allyship all the more important. Their advocacy can inspire fans and viewers to stand up for marginalized youth in their own lives who may not have access to the same care and support.
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