Kye Allums becomes first transgender NCAA athlete
11/4/2010 2:53 PM
(NBC Sports) The George Washington University women’s basketball team’s shower situation just got a little more interesting after 20-year-old junior guard Kay-Kay Allums publicly announced that after years of keeping her gender identification to herself, she has decided to go by Kye Allums and identify herself as a man, becoming the first transgender women’s basketball player in NCAA history. The lifelong tomboy will continue playing basketball for GWU until he decides to start hormone treatments that will make the transformation physically complete.
For the last 20 years, Kay-Kay Allums had appeared to the world as female. She was born with the anatomy that other women have. Her mom tried to dress her in only the most feminine clothes. But inside was a man waiting to burst out of the female body he was born in.
On Nov. 13, Kye Allums will introduce himself to the NCAA basketball world at the Best Buy Classic in Minneapolis in a game against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. When he steps foot on the court, Allums will be the first publicly transgender person to play NCAA Div. 1 college basketball.
It was during his sophomore year that Allums told some teammates he was a man inside a woman’s body. At first, they didn’t believe him. They joked with him about it. But Allums was serious, and when he is on a mission everyone takes notice. “We were all just talking, a bunch of teammates, and he said that he’s a guy,” said teammate Brooke Wilson, one of Allums’ closest friends on the team. “At first I didn’t understand, and then he explained that sex is how you’re born and gender is how you identify yourself. Then I started to understand.”
This brave decision by Allums to put his scholarship at risk by outing himself as a transgender athlete while still attending school brings up a very polarizing topic; should transgender athletes be allowed to compete against athletes they don’t identify themselves as if they still have the same anatomy? Just last year the debate raged over South African women’s track and field sensation Caster Semenya had to endure scathing criticisms by her track and field peers who didn’t think it was fair that Semenya, who most thought was a man, was allowed to compete against women because of the unfair physical advantage being a man would result in. Though she was eventually allowed to run, it was only after she passed a battery of tests that put her running on the career on the shelf for 11 months. If Allums decides to try and take her talents to the WNBA, will the public outcry be the same? We’ll have to see, as long as the league doesn’t fold by the time she graduates.
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