Gabrielle Union And Dwyane Wade Deliver Passionate Speech About LGBTQ Rights At NAACP Image Awards
The couple received the President's Award at the NAACP Image Awards just after a court ruled that their daughter, Zaya, could legally change her name and gender.
February 27, 2023 at 2:21 am
Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwyane Wade delivered a passionate speech when they accepted the President’s Awards at the 54th annual NAACP Image Awards.
The couple spoke up on behalf of their daughter Zaya and other transgender people who often face bigotry and discrimination, Variety reported.
“As your father, all I’ve wanted to do was get it right,” Dwyane said, referring to his daughter. “I’ve sat back and watch how gracefully you’ve taken on a public public scrutiny. 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.”
Dwyane thanked his daughter for helping him become a better person.
“As your father, my job isn’t to create a version of myself or direct your future,” he said. “My role is to be a facilitator to your hopes, your wishes and your dreams. Zaya, you’ve made me a better human just simply by being who you were born to be — a baby girl, Zaya Wade. So baby, thank you for showing the world what courage looks like. I’m proud that I was chosen to stand in place as your father and thank you so much NAACP for this incredible honor.”
Union-Wade first commended the NAACP’s work to advance the lives of Black people. She said the organization “has led us through over a century of relentless challenge, pain, triumph and change.”
“And now stands with us again, at the foot of a very new era of activism, a new era that demands our collective answer to one simple question,” the Hollywood star added.
Union-Wade specifically addressed the challenges that still remain today.
“Let’s just name a couple hard truths,” she said. “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 failed to extend our advocacy to protect some of our most vulnerable among us.”
The 50-year-old star spoke up about lessons she learned from her father Sylvester E. Union, who is “fighting for his life against unspeakable odds in the hospital” after becoming ill over the weekend.
“My dad raised three daughters and raised us all to be warriors. He had a saying, ‘Don’t start, none. Won’t be none. But if they start it, you damn well better be the person finishing it,’” Union said. “And knowing that we didn’t start racism, we didn’t start sexism, misogyny, anti-trans rhetoric and violence, but we damn well are going to be part of the army working to dismantle it. That’s what it had to be about.”
Zaya, 15, can now legally change her name and gender.
“Yesterday was a big day for Zaya Wade,” Dwyane said. “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.”