Gabrielle Union talked with Variety's Marc Malkin about her thoughts on Tennessee's new law banning gender-affirming care for minors during the 2023 Independent Spirit Awards, and she absolutely didn't pull any punches.
Union is vehemently against the law, which makes all forms of gender-affirming care illegal for those under 18 years old.
She told Variety:
"There is an army that rebukes you, that does not agree with you and that will not lie down while this fascist rule is instituted."
"And that’s just one state. There are several states who were doing the same thing, and they will be met with resistance."
"People are not going to take this lying down. They’re just not. So if you thought this was going to be a cakewalk, you’re in for a rude awakening."
Union and her husband, NBA star Dwyane Wade, have been incredibly outspoken in their support for the LGBTQ+ community. They both wholeheartedly support their daughter Zaya, who is transgender.
Union and Wade recently received the 2023 NAACCP President's Award. Wade dedicated the award to Zaya, speaking directly to her during his acceptance speech.
"I want to take this moment to publicly speak to our daughter Zaya."
"Zaya, as your father, all I’ve wanted to do was get it right. I’ve sat back and watched how gracefully you’ve taken on the public scrutiny."
"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 it every day."
"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."
"As your father, my job isn’t to create a version of myself or direct your future. My role is to be a facilitator to your hopes, wishes and dreams."
You can view Wade and Union's acceptance speech below:
The Wade's Praise Zaya Wade For Her Bravery In The Fight For Human Rights! | NAACP Image Awards '23youtu.be
After the event, Union said that Wade's speech was entirely from the heart.
"He was speaking from the heart and to our child."
She said she hoped that speaking directly to Zaya would help all trans kids' parents to truly listen.
"Hopefully speaking to our child, other parents will hear us. Even if you screwed up, turn it around. You don’t have to stay committed to your own ignorance and your own fears."
"Just trying to talk to our child and then having a call to action will hopefully make people a little uncomfortable and remind folks that you cannot barter with any member of the population."
She spoke about the effects of encroaching oppression and authoritarianism, too. It never stops with just one group.
"When you open the door to oppression, they're not going to stop at the front door, they're going to be in every nook and cranny of the house."
"If you think you're offering up a marginalized group for self-preservation, you didn't even buy yourself any time because they're here, we're here."
Many on Twitter praised Union and Wade for standing up for their child's rights.
Tennessee's gender-affirming care ban is set to go into effect on July 1.
All hope is not lost, though.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Tennessee, and Lambda Legal have all promised legal action.
The three organizations released a joint statement:
"We will not allow this dangerous law to stand. Certain politicians and Gov. Lee have made no secret of their intent to discriminate against youth who are transgender or their willful ignorance about the life-saving health care they seek to ban."
"Instead, they’ve chosen fearmongering, misrepresentations, intimidation, and extremist politics over the rights of families and the lives of transgender youth in Tennessee."
"We are dedicated to overturning this unconstitutional law and are confident the state will find itself completely incapable of defending it in court."
"We want transgender youth to know they are not alone and this fight is not over."