Kye Allums, who made history as the first openly transgender athlete to play on an NCAA Division I college basketball team, will present his story, entitled “A Transgender Athlete’s Story,” at Carleton College on Friday, Oct. 12. Sponsored by Carleton’s Gender and Sexuality Center as part of “National Coming Out Week,” this event takes place in the Great Hall beginning at 5:00 p.m., and it is free and open to the public.
Allums was born Kyler Kelcian “Kay-Kay” Allums in Florida and grew up in St. Paul, Minn. He says he identified from childhood as a man in a woman’s body but that social pressure kept him in his identity as Kay-Kay. Allums attended Centennial High School in Circle Pines and received a basketball scholarship to George Washington University, beginning his studies there in 2008. He was a star point guard for the women’s basketball team, starting 20 games for the Colonials his sophomore year.
It was in that year that Allums began confiding in teammates that “I do not like being called a girl. I’m a girl in a guy’s body.” He said he felt relieved after coming out and that his team, including head coach Mike Bozeman, was highly supportive. Allums came out to the world at large during his junior year, receiving widespread media attention. The NCAA informed him that he would remain eligible to play on the women’s team, provided he refrained from taking male hormones or undergoing gender reassignment surgery as a student athlete. Ultimately, however, he was only able to play in eight games his junior year due to multiple concussions, which led to problems with memory loss, and decided to leave the team after that year. Since leaving college, Allums has told his story at numerous speaking engagements with the goal of raising awareness to help other transgender youth.
For more information about this event, including disability accommodations, contact the Carleton College Gender & Sexuality Center at (507) 222-7179. The Great Hall is inside Severance Hall, located on College Street South in Northfield.