Kye Allums used to be called Kay-Kay and was referred to using female pronouns. But he identifies as male, and he's now doing so openly -- with the support of the George Washington University women's basketball team and coaches, as well as university leadership including senior vice provost Robert Chernak.
Allums is the first openly transgender NCAA Division 1 basketball player, but the NCAA has already been considering how to establish equitable policies governing transgender athletes' eligibility for competition. A recent report from the National Center on Lesbian Rights and the Women's Sports Foundation offered some guidance, summarized well on the NCAA website.
In Allums' case, the NCAA determined that he was eligible to continue playing on the women's team. Allums "has informed the university that he will not begin any medical or drug protocols while a student-athlete." This decision is consistent with the report recommendation: "Any transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate in sex-separated sports activities in accordance with his or her assigned birth gender."
I love that Allums' teammates and coaches have accepted his true self so warmly. It has to be a little strange to hear from someone you believe you know well that, in fact, they don't feel at all like the person they appear to be. It also has to be incredibly confusing and frightening to be that person, like Allums, who has spent life in a body that doesn't feel like their own. Transgender is a questioning of self unlike any other.
I'm not a basketball fan myself, but the courage and acceptance shown by Allums and GWU just might persuade me to watch a game or two this season. Rooting for GWU, of course.
Image via GWU player bio