Ever since basketball icon Dwyane Wade revealed that his pre-teen daughter Zaya is gender non-conforming in February, the family has been the center of endless public discourse — including a now-viral conversation between Mike Tyson and Boosie Badazz.
The Louisiana rapper received backlash earlier this year for his transphobic comments about Zaya made in an Instagram live session, in which he misgendered her repeatedly and made derogatory remarks about gender-confirmation surgery. In an October episode of his podcast “Hot Boxin’ With Mike Tyson,” the retired boxer confronted Boosie about the retorts through a bizarre line of questioning. It started out with Tyson asking the rapper, "Why do you say things about people who might be a homosexual?” — despite the comments being about Zaya’s gender identity and not her sexuality — and ended up with him implying that Boosie was actually closeted and struggling with internalized homophobia.
The exchange didn’t really get anywhere meaningful. Boosie doubled down on his views and never issued an explicit apology, though he did say that he sometimes needs to “shut the f*ck up.” But Tyson was generally praised for the exchange, and clips of it went viral on social media, with the original YouTube video now at nearly three million views.
Since then, Tyson told TMZ that his “daughter” was the one who inspired him to take Boosie to task in the first place. He said that “she flew all the way from New York City to LA” to confront the rapper and even came into the room to engage in a dialogue with him. Numerous publications have picked up this alleged factoid, but it’s not exactly true.
The boxer’s 24-year-old child did bring Boosie’s statements about Zaya to his attention. But Ramsey Tyson, a transmasculine and nonbinary individual who uses they/them pronouns, tells them. that some of their dad’s claims about the interaction were false.
Ramsey says they were visiting Los Angeles with a friend in February for reasons unrelated to the podcast (“I can't stress enough how I would never fly across the country to talk to Lil Boosie, ever”), when they decided to stop by the studio to see their dad and stepmom, Lakiha Spicer. By the time they were already “super high” from quite literally hot boxing the studio, Ramsey found out that Boosie would be the guest that day. Since the rapper’s comments about Zaya were still fresh at the time of the taping, Spicer asked Ramsey if they should disinvite him. They advised their family to not cancel, because they thought it might be “a good opportunity to educate someone about trans issues.”
“I can't stress enough how I would never fly across the country to talk to Lil Boosie, ever,” Ramsey Tyson says.
When Boosie finally showed up, Ramsey had just “briefly” explained to their dad about what the rapper had said about Zaya. “He went into it with such little information,” they explain. “I decided I wasn’t going to intervene or step on any toes unless the conversation was completely out of hand.”
Very quickly into the episode, the conversation got out of hand. Ramsey felt “fed up,” so they ran into the studio in the middle of the interview and “then realized that was a really weird thing to do,” they explain. They sat in the corner for about two hours until they were able to speak with Boosie afterwards, and pulled up the them. article “What Critics of Dwyane Wade’s Daughter Get Wrong About Trans Children,” to mentally prepare for the conversation ahead.
“Part of the reason why I wanted to talk to Boosie about it is because I'm a nonbinary person who's socially transitioned amongst my friends and started a medical transition,” they explain. “I felt like I couldn't not say something.”
The results point to a simple, though undeniably significant, conclusion: Believe trans kids.View Story
After the podcast finished taping, they went up to him and started lobbing basic facts about trans children, like that studies have shown that trans kids have a strong sense of gender identity from an early age and that families who reject their children’s gender identity significantly increase that child’s risk of suicidality. “[Zaya] has a very supportive family,” Ramsey adds, “but that doesn't mean there weren't other people reading those comments that he and Young Thug were saying.”
“I ended up having to explain to him, even, that sexuality and gender are two different things, and he was blown away by that,” they say. “He and his friends were like, ‘I never heard that before.’ And then I was like, ‘Oh, got it.’ He really has no idea what he was saying.”
Boosie responded by claiming “he was talking for the straight community” and justified his views by saying that’s how he “was raised,” Ramsey says. “I think he definitely got that he was out of line and shouldn't have said anything,” they add, “but I don't think his opinions changed.”
The rapper addressed his conversation with Ramsey in a recent interview, saying that the two ultimately “didn’t see eye to eye,” but he has “no ill will” toward the Tyson family.
“This might be the first time that [people are] hearing about [trans issues]. I think it’s much more important to listen to trans people.”
In terms of being misgendered by their father and the media, Ramsey says that they know “he didn't mean it maliciously.” They went on to explain that while they haven’t come out to all of their family members as nonbinary, they did talk to their dad “about gender identity very briefly” in the past. They added that they weren’t “super close” and they didn’t really expect him to “be perfect at pronouns.”
“It’s very sweet to say that I inspired him in some way,” they add. “But yeah, it's always a little weird to be misgendered, let alone in Complex.”
Ramsey urged others who viewed the situation as a success to seek out trans people’s perspectives. “I understand a lot of people are gonna come across this, and this might be the first time that they're hearing about [trans issues],” they add. “I think it’s much more important to listen to trans people.”
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