By: Corey Townsend, The Root
Nationwide — The Truth Awards were created to celebrate the accomplishments of the black LGBTQ+ community and its allies, and on Saturday night, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade’s show of support for their child Zaya Wade was a parade-worthy act, in and of itself.
At the 6th annual celebration, 12-year-old Zaya Wade made her red-carpet debut with her family by her side.
The tribe stepped out as a unit in a color-coordinated slay that had Cosmo and Wanda shook. “It was an epic night filled with so much love and a real sense of community,” Union wrote in an Instagram caption. In a separate post that damn near brought me to tears, Wade shared his support for his daughter. “Allow her to reintroduce herself her name is Zaya Wade,” wrote Zaya’s father, adding that Zaya has “emerged as one of the young faces and voices of the LGBTQ community.”
If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard that Zaya recently told her parents she is transgender and was met with open arms and support. Despite the positive responses of Wade and Union, the family was met with widespread stupidity, backlash and immense ignorance for deciding to show their child unconditional love.
A host of people—including Boosie, a rapper whose only claim to fame is his hit song “Wipe Me Down,” missed the memo that minding your business and shutting the fuck up is always and forever a free option. These vagabonds took to social media to shower the Wade family with hate, and while I’m sure it’s been hard, from the outside looking in the family has handled it with the grace that many of us in the LGBTQ+ community have dreamed of receiving.
It saddens me that many people at their big ages find it acceptable to tear down and berate a 12-year-old child. The same people that preach black excellence are often the same ones who are the first to attack their own people. Fun Fact: you can’t call for black excellence and be the same person tearing down the black community.
That’s not how any of this works.
I look at this family and am filled with all the warm and fuzzies imaginable. I think of my own coming out with my parents and how different the experience was and I’m happy another black child doesn’t have to experience that. The confidence displayed in Zaya’s photos comes from having a loving and supportive community, and maybe a lot of us wouldn’t have spent so much time finding ourselves if we’d grown up with the same.