Met Gala 2023: Dwyane Wade uses red carpet to share powerful message on trans suicide rates

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union at the Met Gala 2023.

Basketballer Dwyane Wade, father of the pioneering 15-year-old trans model Zaya Wade, has used his appearance on the Met Gala 2023 red carpet to share an important message about trans suicide rates.

Each year, the Met Gala is an opportunity for the biggest stars to share their best eye-catching looks, but it’s also a platform to share crucial statements of equality – like actor Tommy Dorfman’s ‘Protect Trans Kids’ bag at last year’s event.

This year, Dwyane Wade spent time on the red carpet promoting acceptance for trans youth, and underlining the harrowing reality of what happens when young trans people are abandoned.

Asked by a Variety reporter what message he would like to send to Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who is currently pushing forward with a string of anti-trans policies, Wade said: “I don’t know him. But I do know men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t.

“I do know that when our children feel accepted, that 43 per cent of our children that feel accepted, from their parents, from the world, it lowers the death rate.”

According to the think tank Williams Institute, 43 per cent of America’s trans population are teenagers or young adults. Meanwhile, US LGBTQ+ non-profit organisation The Trevor Project reports that more than half of trans and non-binary youth have considered suicide in the past year alone.

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Continuing his powerful statement, Wade added: “Suicide is high in the trans community. It’s high in youth and so I’m going to step on the side of acceptance and I’m not going to even go on the other side. I’m going to focus on acceptance.

“Let’s make sure our kids have an opportunity to live this life that we all get to live.”

In a short clip from the Met Gala, Dwyane Wade can be seen gleefully filming the other attendees on the red carpet and promising that his daughter Zaya would one day be walking it.

After embracing with fellow basketballer Brittney Griner, who made her Met Gala debut following her release from her ten month detainment in Russia, Wade can be seen speaking into his phone and saying: “Look, I’m showing my daughter what the Met Gala looks like, for one day she’s gonna be here… Alright, that’s it, baby. That’s the Met.”

Last week (26 April), Dwyane Wade told Headliners that he had moved his family out of Florida, despite making his basketball career there, due to the fact that Zaya is “not accepted” there.

“I mean, obviously, the tax [situation] is great. Having Wade County is great. But my family would not be accepted or feel comfortable there. And so that’s one of the reasons why I don’t live there,” he explained.

Florida has recently imposed laws that ban trans youth from receiving gender-affirming healthcare and prevents schools from discussing anything related to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Dwyane and his partner, actress Gabrielle Union, have been vocal in support of Zaya since she came out as trans in 2020. 

As the pair accepted the President’s Award at the 54th annual NAACP ceremony in February, Dwyane shared how proud he was of his daughter for thriving despite the world’s “ignorance” towards trans people.

“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, and even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of that house every morning as yourself,” he said.

“I admire how you’ve handled the ignorance in our world. I admire what you face every day… To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement.”

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