01.22.14

Allums : Dr. V’s Story Wasn’t The First TIme ESPN’s Handled Trangenderism Poorly

Posted in Basketball, Golf, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 2:47 pm by

While Grantland’s Caleb Hannan continues to take it on the chin for his posthumous outing of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, former George Washington University guard Kye Allums — the first openly transgender hoopster in D1 history —argues the Bill Simmons-helmed website, “had more than enough golf content to respect Dr. V’s wishes by focusing on the science behind her invention.” From The Nation, Jan. 22 :

In 2010, I found out that ESPN would be airing a segment about me, including private information about my past. After hearing about the segment, I wrote to the reporter. “It has just been brought to my attention that ESPN…will be using old pictures and videos of me from when I was younger. I am not okay with this. Reason being, we live in a world that does not understand what it means to be transgender,” I wrote. “Every time I see a transgender person in the media, their stories are always centered around their appearance/physical transition. Being transgender is more than a physical appearance. Being transgender is being all of who I am, and that includes keeping certain things from my life private. Please remove the personal information before it airs.”

Like Dr. V, my request was denied. There was nothing I could do. During the week the segment aired, I thought working my campus job would be a great way to get my mind off of the nightmare and escape my escalating feelings of depression. Wrong. I was constantly reminded by everyone that personal pieces of me were out on display for anyone to see. Every time someone said “congratulations,” or “I loved your story,” it moved me that much closer to the edge. Until one day I was there.

It was towards the end of that week. I still hadn’t seen my ESPN piece, and I wasn’t planning on watching it, until I did. I was flipping through the channels when I saw my face. I stopped and watched. Within the first ten seconds they shared my old name. My heart sank. Following that were old videos and photos, but worse still was the panel of “Kye” experts discussing my life as a transgender athlete, and how it’s impacting women’s basketball. I wanted to end my life, and I would have had it not been for the support of my girlfriend and close friends at the time. They saved me.

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