By Joey DiGuglielmo
on August 28, 2013
When Kye Allums told his fellow players on the women’s basketball team at George Washington University during his sophomore year that he wanted them to start using male pronouns and his new name it took a little time for them to get it.
“They laughed at first,” the 23-year-old St. Paul, Minn., native says. “They were like, ‘Yeah, you woke up, now you’re a boy, whatever,’ but when they knew I was serious, they didn’t understand it at all, but they started seeing how it was affecting me. I was smiling then. In the end, they started to switch because they could see using the appropriate name made me happy and in the end they wanted to support me.”
Allums says the issue of being male on a women’s team “didn’t bother me at all.”
After graduating, Allums (imenough.org) parlayed his career into trans advocacy work — mostly visiting college campuses where he spreads his belief that “I am enough — what I say, what I feel, that is enough. You shouldn’t have to tweak yourself to make somebody else happy.” He splits his time between New York and Washington when he’s not traveling (which he says was about 93 percent of the time in the last year). He just got back from London and Scotland where he worked on a documentary about the experiences of trans people around the world. He hopes to finish it with a trip to the United Arab Emirates and Thailand in December.
Allums is single — one of the downsides of constant travel, he says. He enjoys writing, shopping for shoes, Netflix and traveling in his down time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve always known who I was. However, I didn’t always have the vocabulary to describe myself. When I was 14, I came out to my friends as a gay female. The hardest person to tell was my best friend at the time. In the end I never told her. I let someone else (who loved to spread other people’s business) tell her for me. When I was 18, I found out what being a trans man meant. Then I came out to myself. Honestly I’d say coming out to myself was harder than coming out to anyone. I had these negative views of trans people and what I thought it meant and I hated that I fit under that “label.” Little did I know that being trans is simply customizing my identity to what I want it to be. Not my parents, friends or society. Me. I get to be who I choose to be and I love everything about that. Oh yeah, and I recently came out as a gay man!