Tag Archives: Caster Semenya

First Open Transgender in Division I College Basketball

Yes, you heard right.

Having done a post a few months ago on gender and sex discrimination in women’s basketball and viewed the degrading treatment of record-breaking runner Caster Semenya just last year, this story appears to be a remarkable precedent for gender and sexual equality in sports.


Here are some portions from Matt Norlander’s article, “Transgender George Washington player a fascinating, inspiring story,” via Rivals.com to give you the basics. 

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The George Washington junior — who used to be known as Kay-Kay — is referred to on the school’s website as a “male member of George Washington’s women’s basketball team.”

Allums wants to be identified as a male, though he will not begin any medical or drug protocols until he graduates in order to preserve his eligibility on George Washington’s women’s basketball team. OutSports.com reported Allums will be the first publicly transgender person to play Division I college basketball.

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So you might be wondering how this is all possible – how can he play for a women’s basketball team as a man?  The NCAA states that as long as Allums doesn’t take testosterone, he qualifies to play on a women’s team.

This very thorough and fascinating article from OutSports.com describes how this situation isn’t just black and white, female or male:

The issue remains a complicated one for many to grasp. One coach who asked to remain anonymous said he might have a problem if a team in his conference had a player who identified themselves as a man. The reasoning: Because Allums identifies as a man, everyone should treat him as such and he should be playing men’s sports.

Still, Allums’ education is on the line, and he has a scholarship to play on the women’s basketball team. No such scholarship has been extended for him to play on the men’s team.

“There’s not just a one-sentence answer,” said former NCAA basketball head coach Helen Carroll, who co-authored NCLR’s trans-athlete report. “It’s much more complicated than him being a man so he should play men’s sports. Kye as an athlete should have an opportunity to play sports. Period. What that looks like gets complicated because Kye is a transgender athlete.”

To hear more from Allums on his difficult experiences hiding his gender and how his current decision is affecting his teammates and coach, check out OutSports.com.

Now to leave you with some very positive insight from Allums himself on how society can be more open-minded aabout transgenders:

“I used to feel like trans anything was really weird and those people were crazy, and I wondered, ‘How can you feel like that?’” Allums said. “But I looked it up on the Internet and I thought, ‘Oh my god, I’m one of those weird people.’ And I realized they’re not weird. It’s all in your mindset and how you think.”

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1972: Title IX enabled girls to play Little League Baseball

I came across this story while reading Ruth Rosen’s The World Split Open: How the Women’s Movement Changed America.  Issues of gender, sports, and segregation really interest me.  Is “separate but equal” still ok?  Issues of gender and sports are still highly relevant, as captured in the debate over transgender South African runner Caster Semenya’s eligibility in the 2009 World Championships.

Womenstake.org also recently included an article on Viva la Feminista‘s blog on calling attention to the lack of support for women’s professional and collegiate sports teams.  Blogger Veronica Arreola began a petition on Facebook asking members to attend one women’s sporting event in 2010.  The story of Kathryn Johnson, the first girl to play Little League baseball, is still very important in understanding the history of sex-segregated sports and women’s fight for equality and respect on the playing field.

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Excerpt from Associated Content

“Before Johnston played, the idea that Little League baseball was a boys’ only sport was just something people accepted. She challenged that and finished out the rest of the season as herself. But, in 1951, Little League made things official. No more girls. There was no proof that this happened because of Johnston, but people unofficially referred to the decision as the “Tubby Rule.”

It would take over twenty years for that rule to be rescinded.”

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News article from Gadsden Times on Kathryn Johnston

Kathryn Johnston’s website which includes photos, news articles, and personal stories about her experiences.

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