Allums, a George Washington junior who became the first openly transgender basketball player in Division I basketball, said the friend told him that a person's sex is between their legs, but that their gender is between their ears.
"That's such a simple way to put it," said Allums, 21, in an interview with FanHouse earlier this week. "That's all it is. Sex is how you are physically. Gender is how you think between the ears. That's what I'll tell anybody from now on. Sex is between the legs. Gender is between the ears. It's as simple as that."
Since his transgender status was revealed in an Outsports.com interview last week, very little has been simple for Allums, who has been answering questions from as far away as Brazil about his transition from a young woman to a young man.
Allums, who is listed on the GW website as a male member of the women's basketball team, has patiently answered all the questions in part to dispel any mistaken notions, but also to provide comfort to anyone struggling to come to terms with their identity.
"That's really just my thing is to help other people who just can't say anything," said Allums. "This is me. I shouldn't even have to think about whether or not I'm going to say something or not. I should be able to say it."
Allums, a 5-foot-11 guard who averaged 7.4 points per game last season, said he didn't have any idea of what a transgender person was through his high school years.
It wasn't until he came to GW, Allums said, that he began to question his identity. Once he figured it out, Allums said he felt he still had to wait to disclose his status to his friends, family and teammates.
"It was like, man. This is who I am now," said Allums. "It just got so hard to worry about how it was affecting basketball. I had to choose. Either, I'm going to stop playing basketball and just do that, or I'm going to have to tell everybody who I am and have some kind of relief and just focus on basketball and be a better teammate."
"When it got to that point, I just made the decision to just tell the world who I was and at least just from that set an example for other people to not be afraid to say who you are."
Allums, who was known as Kay-Kay last year, made his revelation to his teammates last season and found them overwhelmingly encouraging and caring, to the point where his concerns about being a man in a woman's locker room surpassed that of his teammates.
The school has also been supportive, issuing statements from coach Mike Bozeman and Robert A. Chernak, the senior vice president for student and academic support services. Allums told school officials that he wanted to be referred to as a male in October, and the school has complied.
Allums, a native of Hugo, Minn., is listed on the GW athletics website as a male member of the women's basketball team, but he has not had any reassignment surgeries. Also, Allums has not taken any hormone treatments, so he technically remains female, though he chooses to live as a man.
He will wait until his eligibility runs out before making the formal transition, as NCAA rules prohibit reassignment surgery or hormone treatments for athletes to retain their eligibility.
The biggest hurdle for Allums to cross, he said, was in telling his mother about what he planned to do. The two had drifted apart for some time, Allums said, but once he made his disclosure Aug. 31, and his mother took a couple of days to process things, their relationship rediscovered a closeness that had been missing.
"She's had my back ever since I told her," said Allums. "It's like how we used to be when I was little. We were best friends then. I couldn't ask for anything more."
Still, Allums' disclosure doesn't come without a price of sorts for his family and friends and teammates who now will have to answer questions that they weren't presented with before last Monday.
He is apologetic for the disruption the revelation will impose on their lives, but only to a point.
"At the end of the day, I live for myself," said Allums. "Yes, (the announcement) affects everybody, but it affects me the most because it's me."
"I didn't want this decision to hurt anybody. I didn't want it to affect anyone because I care about the people in my life extremely. I would do anything for them. I just know that this will show me who genuinely loves me, who genuinely cares about me, the people who tried to understand who may not agree, but are still riding with me."
"That's fine with me. It showed me who really wasn't my friend, who really wasn't there for me. And, in the end, it's a win-win situation."
Though national attitudes about gays, lesbians and transgenders are evolving, history suggests that Allums will face some opposition. Some of it will be vocal, and some of it will be unkind.
"I'm as ready as I want to be," said Allums. "I just want to play basketball. They can say things. They might throw things. They could do anything, anything. But I'm not going to go somewhere in fear just because somebody else could be stupid. You never know what's going to happen in the future, but all I can do is live life and be happy with who I am. I've done that so far. I'm fine."
The first test will come, oddly enough, Friday night when the Colonials meet Green Bay at a tournament at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, about 30 minutes away from Allums' hometown.
And if that moment comes where Allums is standing at the free throw line late in the game and GW needs him to hit shots to tie or win the game and someone yells, "Get that guy out of there," well...
"I would like, hear that guy and it would make me happy," said Allums, laughing. "I'd be like, 'I'm really glad that this person knows I'm a guy. I feel it right here (pounds his chest)."
"I'd hit both (free throws) and I'd be like 'Alright.' I'm leaving right after we win. I'd just leave it at that and there we go."