When I started talking to Kye Allums last spring, I told him I wanted our story about his gender transition on a college basketball team to come out many weeks before his first game so that the media reaction wouldn't distract him from playing. For various reasons, the story got pushed to Nov. 1, just 12 days before his first game. We texted about it yesterday. "Now I understand!!" He said.
The reaction in the press to Outsports' story about Kye has been overwhelming and widespread. Today "Kye Allums" is the 12th-most-searched term on Google; There have been 80 Tweets mentioning Kye Allums in just the last hour. It seems everyone is talking about him. We have some excerpts after the jump.
From Yahoo! Sports:
Kye Allums is showing more guts, more bravery, than any player on any college basketball court this season. ... But just because Allums attends a relatively small D-I school doesn't mean this shouldn't be taken and spread widely around. His story is a groundbreaking one, and hopefully can be the next big step in sexual acceptance across the board in sports.
From The Washington Post:
A day after the news first broke that George Washington women's basketball player Kye Allums had begun to identify as a man, Allums was amazed by the reaction he's gotten.
"I was kind of shocked," he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon. "I didn't know what to expect. I didn't think this many people would find out or even care this fast. I thought it would take weeks or months, but in two days? I have people from Germany saying they had already heard about it and how they wish more people were like me or more people would be able to say something and it's crazy."
But there may be nothing, and no one, that can make those of a minority feel less fearful than someone as brave as an athlete like Allums, who is standing up for his difference on a public stage and without shame. Some athletes have been called upon, like the football players at historically black A&T who stood up for their race. Others have been conscripted, like Magic Johnson who wound up having to stand up for those afflicted with HIV and AIDS. Allums was a little of both. He said he realized how he was born and could no longer live a lie.
From Henry Abbott at ESPN:
I salute Kye Allums, George Washington and the NCAA for all handling this gender transition in what appears to be a very cool way. As a society, and as sports fans, we are rabid in demanding everyone fall into male or female categories. But the truth is those categories are not nearly as tidy as everyone once believed. In organizing sports -- and in organizing society -- we're going to have to adjust to that reality. There's no victory in telling someone like Kye to lie about who they really are to make sports fans feel good about themselves.
Luckily, Allums' coach and teammates are supportive of his transition -- but it will be interesting to see how the NCAA handles the situation. It has no official policy on transgender athletes, other than to go by the student's gender according to their state ID.
Erik Christianson, a spokesman for the N.C.A.A., said in an e-mail that the association was planning a review of its policies toward transgender athletes but currently recommended following the gender classification on a student’s identification documents, like a driver’s license. George Washington officials have said that the N.C.A.A. told them that Allums was eligible for the women’s team because he had not undergone hormone treatments.
Many other publications, including the New York Daily News, simply rewrote our story but plan on doing a bigger feature in the near future. HBO, CBS and ESPN have all expressed interest in the story. While it will quiet down in the coming days, my guess is Kye Allums will be a focus of the media for quite some time.