Kye Allums, a George Washington University student and basketball player, has sparked a controversy. The female-to-male transgendered athlete has been cleared to play women’s basketball. The decision was made in cooperation with the NCAA and George Washington University.
Kye Allums transitions to a male identity
Kye Allums was born a female and grew up very much a tomboy. The 21-year-old George Washington University student has said in interviews that he “always felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body.” Over the last few months, Kye has been transitioning to a male identity. In a statement, the 5′ 11″ guard said “I didn’t choose to be born in this body and feel the way I do.”
Kye Allums to play in NCAA women’s basketball
Kye Allums originally started playing NCAA women’s basketball for George Washington University on a scholarship. Kye still wishes to compete in basketball, though his transgender identity created a difficult situation for the University and the NCAA. The National Center on Lesbian Rights and Women’s Sports Foundation offered guidance to the school. The compromise reached allows Kye Allums, who is still physically female, to continue competing in women’s basketball as long as he does not undergo testosterone or drug therapy. Testosterone above what is naturally produced in the body is banned in student athletes, according to NCAA rules.
The difficulty of gender-divided sports
Though Kye Allums is the first transgendered athlete to play in NCAA basketball, this is not the first time the issue has been confronted. The physical gender of Olympic athlete Caster Semenya was under question for years. Lana Lawless, a male-to-female transgender golfer, is suing the LPGA for the right to compete as a professional female golfer. There are some questioning whether the separation of men’s and women’s athletics should just be done away with. Either way, until sports are all co-ed, the issue of transgendered athletes’ physical sex vs. their gender identity will continue to come under debate.