Transgender basketball player discusses sexuality journey

Kye Allums, a transgender student from George Washington University, tells his story as a transgender basketball player on a women’s team. Allums spoke Oct. 9 in the Sunnen Lounge in honor of National Coming Out Day. PHOTO BY BRITTANY RUESS

Kye Allums, a transgendered basketball player, played on the Division-I women’s team at George Washington University (D.C.) in 2010.

“I think I’m a man,” he said to his coach.

In honor of National Coming Out Day, The Multicultural Center and International Student Affairs (MCISA) invited Allums to share his coming-out story on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at noon in the Sunnen Lounge.

“You know you’re gay, right?” Allums said a girl asked him at his high school in Hugo, Minn. She ended up being his first girlfriend.

Allums wasn’t educated on sexuality when he was young, because his mother raised him as a Jehovah’s Witness. She encouraged him to be attracted to men. As a child, he said that he resented wearing female-gendered clothes and he used to sneak shorts under his dresses so he could take the dress off as soon as he got away from his mother.

It wasn’t until high school that Allums felt more comfortable with his sexuality, but he still identified as a lesbian. He wasn’t yet aware that transsexual or transgender people existed.

His mother couldn’t understand why he was attracted to women, so she made him transfer to a different high school. At that point, he began to identify with male pronouns. He said he was very outgoing and his confidence deterred any bullying. Formally Kay-Kay, Allums shortened his name because he felt Kye better suited him.

In 2008, George Washington University gave Allums a basketball scholarship. He identified as transgender for the first time two years later.

“I identify as a transgender male because I feel as though I should have been born a male with male parts,” Allums said.

When Allums voiced these feelings to his college basketball coach, his coach respected his wishes and supported his decision. His teammates initially supported him, too.

However, that changed after miscommunication occurred in 2010.  Allums’ mother claimed that he was only sharing his feelings to receive media attention, and disrespected her son by using female pronouns. All of this happened while Allums was out with a head injury. Allums said he was upset to find out that his teammates didn’t believe him, because the team sided with his mother, causing a rift between the players.

Allums started taking hormones a year-and-a-half ago. He resigned from the women’s basketball team prior to hormone injections.

He wants to get a degree that will further his public speaking skills in order to share his story and educate as many people as possible.

On Thursday, Oct. 11, Webster’s LGBTQ Alliance will celebrate National Coming Out Day with activities located outside Marletto’s Marketplace.

“(LGBTQ) will have body paint and glitter available for people to decorate themselves and spread the word about National Coming Out Day,” Erin Sappington, Webster LGBTQ treasurer, said. “We’re going to be outside of Marletto’s and we’ll have pledges that our straight allies can sign in support.”


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