Recently there was a fascinating story breaking out of George Washington University’s (GWU) woman’s basketball team:
One of their players, Kye Allums, now identifies as a transgender male.
I am always interested in college sports stories because, as some of you may know, I received an athletic scholarship to play Division I baseball in college. All I know is that I had a hard enough time with my teammates when I told them I was moving into Boystown with my best friends – who had just come out.
Since this story broke, a lot of articles are saying that her teammates and her university are handling her admission great. I have a few thoughts as a former Division I (DI) athlete:
1. I would assume her team would be handling this situation well. My experience has shown me that the majority (being over 50%) of DI woman’s softball and basketball teams are indeed lesbian. This is not a stereotype. It’s a fact that I experienced first hand. In fact, it was the softball team at my university that introduced me to everyone I knew in the LGBT world in Chicago. Such a situation was not only true at my school, but 100% of the other Division I schools around the country that I had friends who played sports at. I’m not saying this is generalizable to every single Division I school in the country, just to my school and the dozen or so other DI schools that I had friends who played at. The question might be, then, Why are so many lesbians on DI basketball and softball teams? I don’t know. I just know what my experienced showed me.
2. I would image the school would be handling it well. GWU is located in Washington, DC. It seems to me, not in a bad way, that every secular institution wants to be on the forefront of this type of stuff.
3. I wonder what the other sports and players are saying about this – especially any of the men’s teams/coaches/players? Funny how I haven’t been able to find one article with one quote from any of them. I wonder why they’re all being so silent? Oh, that’s right… Because homophobia runs wild among men Division I male athletes and coaches!
I’m sure the administration is telling the coaches (who coincidentally want to keep their jobs) to make sure their players keep their mouths shut about this. If I was given a hard time for being best friends with LGBTs, I couldn’t imagine what is going on behind the scenes about this. Or, who knows, maybe all of the other players from the other teams just accept Kye Allums as a man now? Culture has changed quite a bit on this topic since I played in the early 2000s.
Here are some of my questions though, which I would love to hear your thoughts:
The majority of the articles on this story, when I googled it, are saying that ‘a man is now playing Division I basketball on a woman’s team‘. Is it really a male playing Division I woman’s basketball?
At what point is a transgender person ‘officially’ considered a member of the opposite sex?
I’m not trying to offend anyone, but to me these headlines seem like the ‘man who gave birth’ story. A man cannot give birth. A post-op transgender man, in my mind, is by all social constructs a man. But giving birth is impossible for biological men. Going through a transition from female to male cannot make someone a biological man, it just aligns a person’s gender dissonance (The best book I have ever read on transgender thought is by Julia Serano, called Whipping Girl).
Just the same, Kye Allums is still genetically a female, and thus, although she is now a calling himself a [transgender] man, Kye is still a woman playing on a woman’s basketball team who identifies as a transgender male. If Kye got the surgery, took the testosterone and went the full distance, do you think he would be allowed to play on a DI woman’s basketball team? That’s up to the NCAA. But something tells me the answer would be no. I just wish we could report and label things as they are, instead of always going to the shock value of creating something that is an impossibility – a biological and/or post-op male cannot play on a NCAA woman’s basketball team.