Kye Allums, the trans man who made headlines last year when he announced his transition but decided to put off physical transition and continue playing college women's basketball to keep his scholarship, has quit the basketball team his senior year:
The openly transgender member of the George Washington women's basketball team, whose groundbreaking season was cut short by a pair of concussions, says he won't play in his senior year.
The school announced that Kye Allums "has decided that it is in his best interest to no longer participate in intercollegiate athletics."
"I alone came to this conclusion," Allums said in a statement released by the university, "and I thank the athletic department for respecting my wishes."
I hope for nothing but the best for Allums, and he was put in an awkward position where he was visible in a certain context and was effectively being paid to put off transition since going through with it would have meant he couldn't play women's basketball and he would have lost his scholarship.
And I can't say that there's no moral ambiguity here - I've posted several times about how transsexual women should be allowed to play sports as women because they are women. My usual question for sports that don't allow trans women to play as women is whether they'd allow a trans man to play as a woman, with the assumption that they wouldn't. If testosterone can be considered a performance-enhancing drug, then I wouldn't expect a women's sport to make an exception for certain men who have a concrete need to take testosterone.
Allums postponed HRT, which means that he didn't have a competitive advantage when it comes to hormones. But is that it? Are hormones what separate men from women, not identity? If a cis woman naturally has more testosterone than average, should she be banned from competing? Should sports organizations revert to hormonal tests to determine gender instead of any of the myriad of means of determining gender?
Making an exception here contradicts the basic argument that one's gender identity is what one experiences, not what someone else can determine through a test. But if eligibility did just depend on identity, all that would do is motivate people like Allums to stay in the closet, and that's not an ideal situation either.
All I can say is that this case isn't simple, and the school, by allowing a pre-transition trans man to play as a woman (and he's not the only pre-transition trans man playing college sports on a women's team, of course), chose the best of several imperfect options.