NCAA’s First Openly Trans Player Kye Allums Gets Benched, Says Mom

His mother says that the university hasn't allowed her son to play, or reach out to other trans athletes.

By Thoai Lu Feb 24, 2011

Remember last year’s story about Kye Allums, the NCAA’s first openly trans basketball player? Turns out things aren’t going so well, after all.

Allums, who plays guard for the George Washington University women’s basketball team, made history last year when he came out publicly as transgender. His was a heartfelt story of courage and, at least at first, the university vouched for him. But according to the Advocate,  Allums’ mother Rolanda Delemartinez told reporters in a phone interview recently that her son has been prevented from playing, despite recovering from two concussions. 

Since Allums made his first start last fall, he’s missed all but eight games of the season. Two were due concussions. Team doctors allegedly told Allums that in order to be cleared to play, he would have to run for two hours.

"I know professional athletes," Delemartinez told the Post. "None of them had ever heard of anything like that."

According to a report in the Washington Post, the university’s athletic director Jack Kvancz has denied accustations that Allums’ lack of play on the court this season has anything to do with his gender identity. 

"To my knowledge, no team doctor has ever cleared him, "Kvancz told reporters, according to the Post. "The only thing I had ever heard was the doctor did not want to clear him, and that the concussions are a very, very big thing. I never even thought of saying that person is not going to play because that person has a different belief than I do. That’s crazy."

Of course, Allums and his mother aren’t buying it. And probably for good reason. This is also from the Post:

Delamartinez said her son wants to help other transgender athletes but school officials have refused to allow him to tell his story to reporters. According to Delamartinez, school officials told her and Allums not to speak to any reporters because the school had arranged to give an exclusive to Oprah Winfrey."

The university denies those accusations, too. But for the record: Oprah doesn’t have the greatest track record in her interviews with trans folks. Jorge Rivas wrote last week about trans supermodel Leah T’s appearance on the show. Oprah just couldn’t stay away from the dumb questions. "Some of your pictures are very revealing," she started. "How do you, if I may ask, how do you hide your penis? You must have to strap that thing down in there? Really… whaaa’ what where is it? Really, how do you hide it?"