If you haven’t heard already, the Union-Wade family went to Miami Pride.
Let me repeat myself.
The Union-Wade family went to Miami Pride.
Why does this bear repeating? Because they took their bevy of beautiful, black children to not only show support to the LGBTIA+ community, but to also support one of their own — little Zion Wade, who identifies as gay. Even though father Dwyane Wade couldn't be there, his visible support of his son through social media speaks volumes.
Yes, you read that right. In a time when the Black community is bombarded with the accusation of being homophobic and transphobic, here comes a Black family that shoves past this generalization to expose an idea that actually exists within the Black community: acceptance, support and love can be given to those within the Black community that identify within the LGBTQIA+ alphabet.
Let it be known that it’s even more important that a straight, Black father has visibly shown his support for his gay Black child. Thus helping in defeating a cycle of hate and misunderstanding between straight Black men and gay Black men.
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Black women, trans folks and queer people have historically been leading the charge within civil rights movements, advancing the rights of the Black community. Yet still, they have been subjected to misogynoir, transphobia and homophobia when it comes to the intersection of their gender identity and sexual orientation, paired with navigating their blackness. This places them on the periphery of acceptability within the Black community.
Also, it doesn’t help that the media loves to overplay the trope of the father who can not find it within himself to accept his son due to the chokehold that toxic masculinity and/or religious beliefs have placed on him. Albeit trite, it still holds true for a myriad of gay Black men today. The repercussions of this causes other gay Black men to internalize homophobia and toxic masculinity used to degrade, demean, hurt or kill other queer men, women, and trans folks. It also causes challenges with accepting themselves for who they are, potentially leading to self-harm or suicide.
Lives are literally at stake when we introduce self-hatred into the worlds of young, Gay black men, those still discovering their sexual identities and straight Black men, alike. In addition to having the world tell you that the beauty within your complexion and features is nonexistent, fetishization within the queer community as a pornographic commodity and being an outlier within the same said community when it comes to dating and civil rights, the gay Black man’s existence can become daunting, exhausting and extremely difficult to navigate when all of these pieces of an oppressive puzzle come together. Which is why it’s so important to have straight Black men loving and supporting gay Black men.
Mind you, a gay Black man’s worth isn’t within a straight Black man, but that love and support from them helps in eradicating years of education filled with self-hatred, lack of understanding and unworthiness. If I had more men in my life who looked like me supporting my gay identity at Zion's age, who knows what hurdles I would've surmounted sooner. Who knows how much love I would have had for myself at a younger age.
So when you see straight Black men like Dwyane Wade openly showing support to their gay Black sons, then you see straight Black men fighting against toxic masculinity. You see straight Black men choosing love over hate. You see straight Black men agreeing with gay Black men in that they, too, are worthy — no matter if the world says otherwise.
We need more straight Black fathers like Wade so we can have more straight and gay Black men coming together in community, in love and in the advancement of Black people everywhere.