The first openly transgender person in NCAA basketball is suiting up for George Washington University, according to Latin in America. Kye Allums will be playing on the women’s basketball team as a junior, even though he was born a female.
Allums said in a press release, “I told my teammates first, and they, including my coaches, have supported me. My teammates have embraced me as the big brother of the team. They have been my family and I love them all.”
Allums is a 5′ 11″ junior from Minnesota who started 20 of 26 games last year for the Colonials as a guard. He averaged 7.4 points per game and 4.6 rebounds, according to the Colonials’ athletic website.
A Step Forward
Kye Allums will be playing for women’s basketball because physically he was born a female. The National Center on Lesbian Rights and the Women’s Sports Foundation advised that all transgender athletes should be allowed to participate so long as any hormone therapy is consistent with policies regarding banned medications. Allums will not be taking any testosterone treaments while competing in basketball.
Allums is breaking barriers in this contemporary age when individual freedoms and differences should be celebrated and not admonished. Another case in 2006 was met with the same optimism.
The Women’s Sports Foundation reported Keelin Godsey was born a female and began transitioning to a male while competing for the Bates College track and field team as a co-captain. The Division III All-American attempted to try out for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Godsey said when referring to his transition, “I lost a lot friends over this. Some members of my family are perfectly OK with it. Some people say stuff, yeah, but I just don’t associate with those people.”
The International Olympic Committee does permit transgender athletes to compete in their new gender if reassignment surgery took place two years earlier. If Godsey had qualified for the 2008 Olympics, he would have competed as a woman because he had not been surgically altered yet.
The case of Kye Allums is not the first to happen in the NCAA, but it may be the most prominent. Allums likely won’t be an All-American but he will start many games and have an impact on his team as George Washington tries to make it to the NCAA Tournament.
The better George Washington does in regard to women’s basketball prominence, the higher profile Allums’ case will become. If the NCAA doesn’t believe his competing in basketball is a big deal, then no one else should either. The fact that he has the full support of his teammates and coaches speaks volumes to Allums’ character, regardless of which gender he chooses.
Latin in America, “Kye Allums, First Transgender Athlete To Play In NCAA Basketball”, en.terra.com.
George Washington University, “University Statements Regarding Kye Allums”, GWSports.com.
George Washington University Athletics, “Player Bio: Kye Allums”, GWSports.com.
Women’s Sports Foundation, “Keelin Godsey: Transgender All-American”, WomensSportsFoundation.org.