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Gabrielle Union slams new Tennessee law banning gender-affirming health care for minors as 'fascist'

Gabrielle Union attends the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday in Santa Monica, Calif. 
(Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Champagne Fleur de Miraval)
Gabrielle Union attends the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Champagne Fleur de Miraval)

Gabrielle Union is making it clear that she's one of the people who oppose Tennessee's new law banning gender-affirming health care for minors. And she had a message for Gov. Bill Walker, who signed the legislation into law Thursday, at the same time as a law prohibiting drag shows in public spaces or events where children may be present.

"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," Union told Variety at the 2023 Independent Spirit Awards. "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 has been vocal about her support for her husband Dwyane Wade's 15-year-old daughter, Zaya, whom he shares with ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches.

"When you open the door to oppression," the Bring It On and Being Mary Jane alum continued, "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."

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union support Zaya. (Photo: Instagram)
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union support Zaya. (Photo: Instagram)

In February, Zaya was legally granted a name and gender change, after Dwyane had petitioned the court for the action in August 2022. Zaya's mother had asked the judge to deny the request, insisting that her daughter could decide when she was older if she wanted to make the change permanent and that Dwyane might be pressuring Zaya "in order to capitalize on the financial opportunities that he has received from companies." Wade flatly denied that.

He gave a heartfelt speech in honor of his daughter on Feb. 25 at the NAACP Image Awards, as he and Union were honored with the President's Award for their work in public service, including advocating for LGBTQ equality through his Wade Family Foundation.

"As your father, all I've wanted to do is get it right," he said, while speaking directly to Zaya. "I've sat back and watched how gracefully you've taken on public scrutiny. And even though it's not easy, I watched you walk out of the house every morning. I admire how you handle the ignorance in our world. I admire that you face every day." He added, "To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement."