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First transgender athlete to play in NCAA basketball

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Transgender athlete plays women's basketball
  • Kye Allums will keep playing with the George Washington women's basketball team
  • He will be identified as a male but will not be permitted to start hormone therapy
  • The university's acceptance "means a lot," Allums says

Washington (CNN) -- George Washington University junior Kye Allums will play women's basketball again this year. But he will now play the role of a brother, not a sister, to his teammates.

Everything will be the same when he takes to the court in the university's season opener later this month. Just that Allums, 21, will be identified as a man, becoming the first openly transgender player in NCAA Division I basketball.

"This means a lot," Allums said in a statement. "I didn't choose to be born in this body and feel the way I do."

The 5 foot 11 inch guard from Hugo, Minnesota, said the university has been supportive of his decision. But he will not be permitted to undergo testosterone therapy as long as he is competing.

A report last month from the National Center on Lesbian Rights and the Women's Sports Foundation provided guidance on the matter, saying that transgender student athletes "should be allowed to participate in any gender-segregated sports activity so long as that athlete's use of hormone therapy, if any, is consistent with the national governing body's existing policies on banned medications."

Robert Chernak, senior vice provost at George Washington, said the university is fully accepting of Allums decision to live as a male student.

"Kye has informed the university that he will not begin any medical or drug protocols while a student-athlete," Chernak said. "Kye will continue to be a member of the women's basketball team.

"Kye has informed his teammates, and the university, with Kye's consent, has informed athletics staff and others, as appropriate."

Allums grew up as a tomboy and later tried behaving and dressing the way teenage girls do, according to an interview with Outsports, an online gay sports site.

"I decided to transition, that is change my name and pronouns because it bothered me to hide who I am, and I am trying to help myself and others to be who they are," Allums said in his statement.

In his sophomore year, he began telling people he was a man trapped in a woman's body.

"I told my teammates first, and they, including my coaches, have supported me," he said. "My teammates have embraced me as the big brother of the team. They have been my family, and I love them all."