A Washington student has become the first transgender person to play National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball.

Kye Allums, 21, of George Washington University, is returning to the women’s team this month, although he is now known as a man.

The five foot 11 inch player has been permitted to continue playing with the women’s division one team so long as he does not begin hormone therapy.

In an interview with gay sports website Outsports, Allums said he decided to transition several years ago and stop hiding who he really was.

He said he initially identified with lesbians at school but realised he was transgender after a row with his mother, during which she called him “young lady”.

Allums told Outsports: “I used to feel like trans anything was really weird and those people were crazy, and I wondered, ‘How can you feel like that?’

“But I looked it up on the Internet and I thought, ‘Oh my god, I’m one of those weird people.’ And I realised they’re not weird. It’s all in your mindset and how you think.”

During his sophomore year, he began telling friends that he was male, explaining the difference between biological sex and gender.

Eventually, he plucked up the courage to tell his coach, Mike Bozeman, who supported him.

Although he is treated as male, Allums will continue to play on the women’s team, which he has a scholarship for. He intends to begin testosterone treatment after his last game for the university.

The university says that he is eligible to play for the team so long as he abides by NCAA rules on hormone therapy and banned medication.

In a statement given to CNN, the student said: “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.

“I told my teammates first, and they, including my coaches, have supported me. My teammates have embraced me as the big brother of the team. They have been my family, and I love them all.”