Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Athletes are people too.

So I like sports. Good god I can't play sports to save my life BUT watching sports, especially with hot wings and beer, is my sport and I'm good at it!

Originally, I wanted to write about the coverage of the NCAA National Championships, how the men's was well advertised, while the women's... well... people knew about it. Did they watch? My significant other and I did. It upset me a little. Women have the bracket just like men did so why didn't the President, and EVERYBODY ELSE for that matter, pick a winner for the men's teams but not the women's? These women can PLAY too! They aren't having tea parties on that court for sure. In fact, according to an article written on, the women outscored the men by over 50 points during their championship games. And this is the ONLY time you will hear me say this but GO AGGIES! Never again people.

Women outscore men for championship

But then I realized how the gender binary factored into this discussion. It isn't inclusive as I would have liked it to be. As a society, we don't recognize (until we recognize) that there are other ways to self-identify besides "male" or "female" binaries. To acknowledge that is to acknowledge all people who want to be gender-non-conforming.

So I went the complete opposite route and looked at an article my significant other found on ESPN about George Washington basketball player Kye Allums. He is an amazing individual. The first out transgender athlete to play an NCAA sport, he decided to not take testosterone so he could continue to play with his teammates on the George Washington women's basketball team. COMPLETE props to ESPN though for using the pronouns he wanted them to use. Even though the article is about concussions, which is sad, they took the time and respect to know and use the proper pronouns to write it.

Transgender women's basketball player Kye Allums reflects on season

This is a big deal. Besides the fact that ESPN is owned by the Disney corporation (being a LGBT-friendly company), this is such a male-dominated website. You have to click on the "More Sports" tab just to get to the stories about women's sports, let alone search "Kye Allums" to get stories about him. But I was able to find and watch the ESPN "Outside the Lines" story on him (link below):

OTL: Transgender Athlete
(Warning: the language and content in this video may trigger or upset you)

Personally, I believe this is a huge step in the right direction. I know we talk about baby step all the time but this is a jump. Kye is paving the way for many young transpeople, and LGBT-identified people, to be out and athletic. As his coach mentioned in the video, it was difficult at first but his teammates were able to grow. They use "he/him" instead of "she/her" when referring to Kye and call him Kye instead of his birth name Kay-Kay. To see this progress in sports is wonderful, because the assumption is it's just straight people playing ball. Maybe Kye's stories can give courage and hope to those who might be struggling with their own identities. Below is a FANTASTIC article written by, which is now my new favorite sports website.

Kye Allums: Transgender man playing NCAA women's basketball

No comments:

Post a Comment