The first trans athlete to compete in the NCAA on stopping bills banning trans kids from sports

By the time Schuyler Bailar got to high school, he was one of the nation’s top 20 15-year-old breast strokers. By 17, he set a national age-group record. His hard work paid off when he was accepted to join the Harvard swim team in 2013.

Bailar had been accepted to the women’s swim team, but after realizing that he was transgender, he had to grapple with possibly losing the chance to compete in the sport he loved.

“I’m an athlete, and if I transitioned I would lose the women’s team. But when it became more clear that I wanted to transition, that I was going to go through medical steps in my transition, that I wanted to go by he/him/his pronouns, my coach Steph was like ‘What about the men’s team?’”

Ultimately, Bailar decided to take the leap. And after a gap year, became the first transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division 1 men’s team.

Now 25, Bailar uses his social platforms to raise awareness about trans issues. Currently, more than 30 state legislatures have bills designed to ban trans girls and women from playing women’s athletics. Bailar believes these bills are harmful to the wellbeing of trans children.

“I get goosebumps in a bad way, in a sad way and sort of teary when I think about it because a lot of trans kids don’t have the support from their parents, don’t have the support from their teachers, or their friends. So for the government to add on to that, ‘oh by the way, you also don’t belong in sports,' it’s a massive massive message to these kids that they don’t belong. Additionally, Bailar suggests going to his website to learn more about the 144 trans bills in the United States that target sports and access to healthcare.

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