Recently, George Washington University junior Kye Allums became the first transgender athlete to play in NCAA basketball. Allums, who identifies as a man, will still be playing on the women’s team. While he competes, he is not permitted to undergo testosterone therapy.
His teammates, coaches, and the university administration have been accepting of his gender identity and support his decision to continue playing on the women’s basketball team, as long as he holds off on the transition process.
Coverage of Allums has generally been supportive, too, with the media consistently referring to Allums using male pronouns. That is, except for FOX. In a FOX Sports article on Allums, the author wrote that Allums “decided to identify as a man.”
Earth to FOX: people don’t choose their gender identity. Allums didn’t choose to be transgender, he chose to tell people about his gender identity and to eventually undergo the transition process. But by reporting that Allums chose his gender identity, FOX is spreading misinformation about transgender people and giving readers an inaccurate portrayal of what it’s like to be transgender.
Allums has made it perfectly clear that his choice was whether or not to come out, not whether or not to be transgender.
“I decided to transition, that is change my name and pronouns because it bothered me to hide who I am, and I am trying to help myself and others to be who they are,” Allums said.
But that’s not the message FOX Sports is sending when it says that Allums decided to be a man. Instead, their reporting posits that gender identity is something people decide on a whim. That’s harmful, not to mention false information and a disservice to Allums. Please ask FOX Sports to make a correction to their article and clarify that Allums did not choose to identify as a man.
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