FanDuel - WFBC

November 02, 2010

Transgender Man Plays on Women's College Team: A guard for George Washington University's women's basketball team is a transgender man. Kye Allums, who was born female and has not undergone any hormone treatments, changed his name from Kay-Kay to Kye within the last year and was relieved not to lose his scholarship. "When people refer to me as 'girl' or 'she,' it doesn't sit well with me," Allums said. "That feeling you get when someone pisses you off, that feeling you get when your stomach gets hot and it aches, that's what it feels like. And that's how I know I'm not supposed to be a girl." On Nov. 13, he will be the first transgender person to compete in Division One college basketball, according to OutSports. Opposing fans used to taunt Allums about his masculine build, but it backfired. "I love it," he said. "It makes me feel better about myself to hear them call me a man."

posted by rcade to basketball at 11:17 AM - 11 comments

Also posted on MetaFilter.

posted by rcade at 11:22 AM on November 02

Acceptance from his teammates, coach, and the school makes this a great story.

posted by bperk at 11:35 AM on November 02

"When people refer to me as 'girl' or 'she,' it doesn't sit well with me," Allums said. "That feeling you get when someone pisses you off, that feeling you get when your stomach gets hot and it aches, that's what it feels like. And that's how I know I'm not supposed to be a girl."

I don't think she helps his cause by playing on a women's basketball team.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 12:27 PM on November 02

Comments describing him as a he/she, or any other junk of that nature, will be deleted from here on out.

Since he has not undergone hormone treatments, there's nothing inequitable about him playing for a women's team. He got the scholarship while he was still identifying himself as female and only has two more seasons of eligibility.

If his "cause" is to be accepted and to further the acceptance of others in his position, continuing to play seems to be furthering both.

Also, he'd be giving up a scholarship that furthers his education. That would be a pretty big sacrifice to make.

posted by rcade at 12:38 PM on November 02

Going further, based on similar discussion on MetaFilter, if it is improper for him to play on a women's team solely because he came out as transgender, look at what you're asking of him.

He has no competitive advantage over women, because he was born female and has not undergone hormone treatments. Other male athletes have a physical advantage over him by virtue of biology.

The net result of that thinking is transgender athletes in his position would not have anywhere to play. They couldn't make men's college basketball teams.

posted by rcade at 12:51 PM on November 02

There is nothing wrong with this situation at all, and I'm glad the team is so accepting of it. Its only when a man's body plays with an advantage in women's sports that there is an issue and vice versa (even though I know there is some sport where being a woman is advantageous, I couldn't think of one in the couple minutes I took to write this).

posted by Andy1087 at 01:51 PM on November 02

Competitively I see no reason why he shouldn't be allowed to play. I would assume that if one wanted to be accepted as a male then playing for a women's basketball team would not be the correct course of action.

However, I agree with this: If his "cause" is to be accepted and to further the acceptance of others in his position, continuing to play seems to be furthering both.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:28 PM on November 02

I would assume that if one wanted to be accepted as a male then playing for a women's basketball team would not be the correct course of action.

Well, yes and no.

You can make the argument that playing on a women's team would seem to be "going in the wrong direction", sure. The problem is that the quest for acceptance is not a linear thing. Talking about the "right direction" or "wrong direction" simplifies a multidimensional struggle into a single dimension, and ignores the fact that things don't merely proceed forward or backward, but sideways, up and down as well. Actions that you take that advance you in one dimension, set you back in another. So let's assume, as seems reasonable, that he wants to be accepted as a man, and he wants to play basketball. Doing the "right" thing to be accepted as a man means not being able to play basketball: one step forward here, one step back over there. And then there's the fact that if you're a person struggling for acceptance, doing everything "right" is no guarantee of success. He could give up all kinds of things that would seem to get in the way of acceptance as a man -- give up playing basketball, and the color pink, and carrying a shoulder bag, and anything, anything at all, that might be construed as "female". And if he does all that, he'll still not be accepted by everybody.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:41 PM on November 02

-- give up playing basketball, and the color pink, and carrying a shoulder bag, and anything, anything at all, that might be construed as "female". And if he does all that, he'll still not be accepted by everybody.

"Female" is a biological condition; "feminine" is a social construction. I think you need to keep this distinction in mind as you make your argument.

That aside, does anyone else see an injustice here? I mean, on the one hand the individual in question denies being a female and resents being considered one. Yet, on the other, this same person is willing to accept a scholarship specifically awarded to female athletes, in the process depriving some other deserving and needy female of the educational benefits it entails. At the least it seems contradictory to me.

posted by billinnagoya at 09:19 PM on November 02

I'm kinda disappointed this thread did not erupt. I thought the golf driving thread was kind of entertaining. I'm guessing that there is nothing really controversial about a female-to-male transgender man that has not undergone any hormonal treatments competing against women. The other thread probably also got everything out that could be said.

I'm trying to think of some Allums/Alumni/Alumnae joke, but I don't think I could pull it off funny, nor without being offensive. As an American-speaker, I think that alumna/alumnus/alumni/alumnae should be eliminated and replaced with alum and alums. But that's neither here nor there.

posted by Aardhart at 06:30 PM on November 03

A followup story shows that the NCAA has a clear rule for this situation: "a female who wants to be socially identified as a male but has not undergone hormone treatments or surgery may complete on a women's team."

posted by rcade at 09:47 AM on November 04

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