Kye Allums, the first transgender player in NCAA Division I history, appeared in a new Fearless Project video touting the support he received from the University and his team after his decision to come out in November 2010 – a message that rebuts what he told Sports Illustrated earlier this year.
The video sheds new light on the intricacies of Allums’ story and his relationship with his coaches and teammates following his decision to come out at the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
In May, Allums told Sports Illustrated the scene in the Colonials locker room was one of “turmoil” and said he felt a lack of support from then-head coach Mike Bozeman. But in the Fearless Project video, Allums said the coaches and administration “immediately supported” him, and that teammates, coaches and administrators were “so positive.”
The Fearless Project features high school and collegiate athletes who openly self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and continue to compete on their school’s sports teams.
“Not everybody used male pronouns, but nobody used female pronouns because they knew that it hurt me and made me feel uncomfortable. And they wanted me to be happy,” Allums said in the video. “They cared about my feelings. And they wanted me to be in an environment where I could perform well.”
While the Fearless Project video focuses on the support Allums said he initially received upon coming out, the Sports Illustrated article described an atmosphere that was less supportive following increased media attention. Allums told the magazine that his relationship with his teammates went “from them all having my back to no one having my back.”
“He also felt abandoned by coach Mike Bozeman,” the article reported.”[Bozeman] was like, Now you’re affecting us,” Allums says. “He pointed to the freshmen and he’s like, ‘Did you guys come here to have to deal with this?'”
The latest twist in Allums’ story, in which his mother alleged the University was keeping the media from her son, comes immediately after GW announced a new partnership with the You Can Play video campaign. The University’s video, which features 18 student-athletes, supports inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes in the University’s 23 varsity sports and its other athletics and recreation programs.
Allums, too, is heavily involved in LGBT advocacy. In the Fearless Project video, he reveals that he is working on creating Project IMEnough, which will focus on creating a support system for other trans athletes. And in the fall, Allums said he intends to travel to other universities to share his story and educate students on trans issues.