When former women’s basketball guard Kye Allums came out as the first transgender Division 1 athlete three years ago, media pressure and ESPN specials were suffocating. The alumnus wanted to hurt himself, nearly cutting himself with a kitchen knife.
“They showed pictures of me when I was younger, they used my old name, and my mom showed my coming-out letter on camera. My face was everywhere, continuously, for an entire week,” Allums wrote in Playboy on Wednesday.
But Allums wrote Wednesday that while the stressful media attention caused him to run from the spotlight, he used the privacy to “regain my energy and find myself.”
About a year later, after reactivating his Facebook account, Allums realized from the 25,000 unread messages he had received, that he had the chance to “make a difference in people’s lives.” It started small, replying to all those who had reached out to him, and grew into a national attempt to teach “Trans 101″ to players and coaches across the country.
Now he’s devoting time to his LGBT advocacy campaign, “Project I Am Enough.”
“At the college level, I’m trying to create a safe environment for other openly trans athletes,” Allums said in the article. “It’s about teaching players and coaches Trans 101—what the terms mean and that there’s a difference between biological sex and gender identity.”
This newest project evolved out of a two-minute video Allums posted offering financial support for those pursuing gender-reassignment surgery. Now a fundraising campaign for those surgeries, the project serves as “a storytelling platform dedicated to promoting self-love, acceptance, and respect for everyone on the gender spectrum.”
Allums’ mission won’t stop here, though, as he plans to complete similar LGBT themed documentaries every summer.
If he had it his way, he said, “enough LGBT athletes will be out that fans and the media will greet a player’s sexuality with a shrug, as opposed to a segment on ’Outside the Lines’ or the cover of Sports Illustrated.”