Speaker shares identity struggle


By Alex LaBee

A man of many identities, Kye Allums, a transgender male and mentor to LGBT youth, shared the challenges he faced in finding his own identity.

The LGBT and Women’s Resource Center hosted Allums as part of LGBTQ Awareness Month Tuesday in the Duke Ellington Ballroom.

Allums shared his story about finding his identity in hopes of helping and inspiring others.

“Being trans isn’t a book; it’s a feeling,” Allums said.

Allums grew up in Minnesota, where he identified as a lesbian until college. Facing discrimination and bullying throughout his life, he discovered his identity as a transgender male after enrolling at George Washington University.

Allums played on the women’s basketball team, where he had friends who were afraid to come out of the closet. Wanting to set an example for his friends, Allums, with the help of a reporter, managed to get his story out. Allums became the first openly transgender NCAA Division I athlete.

“I didn’t think my story could have impacted anyone, but it did,” Allums said.

Allums said many people contacted him, and half of them were children saying they no longer felt like killing themselves because they had seen him on the newspaper. Allums continued to conduct interviews to support children and others who looked up to him.

Allums is a public speaker and founder of the I Am Enough project, a storytelling platform dedicated to encouraging self-love for everyone on the gender spectrum. People who visit the site can upload their stories and talk about the difficulties they face.

“I come to talk to you because I want everyone to know that it’s possible to be trans and possible to find out who you are,” Allums said.

Senior biology major Michael Sunderman said Allums’ story was relatable.

“Kye has so many intersections, so many identities, that it’s important for people to see that you could be trans, black man and an athlete,” Sunderman said.

Emily Tudor, junior health administration major, said she was grateful to listen to the presentation.

“It’s great to hear somebody who has personality and vibrancy share their story in a relatable way,” Tudor said.