On March 29th, Indiana State University students had the opportunity to attend a meeting to inform the public of Schuyler Bailar, in honor of Transgender Visibility Day. Schuyler Bailar was the first transgender man to compete in any NCAA D1 Division sports. He also was the first openly transgender man to swim at an NCCA D1 level. The struggles that Schuyler Bailar faced before and after becoming a swimmer were difficult. However, the swimmer prevailed. He is now a leader and activist for other transgender people.
Before Bailar came out as transgender, he faced problems in all of his school years. The Harvard Gazette explains, “It is a journey that has been difficult,” said Bailar, recalling his struggles before coming to Harvard, such as being bullied in elementary school for not looking quite “girly,” developing an eating disorder, depression, and self-harming tendencies in high school. Bailar's struggle only worsened after he finished high school when he was dealt with a hard decision.
In high school, Bailer was actually recruited by the women’s team. However, Bailer was struggling with an eating disorder, which led him to postpone the team. After a series of interreflections and self-discovery, he realized that his problem was not in the disorder, rather, the disorder was covering up his gender identity. After the self-discovery, Bailer soon went to change his identity. According to The Harvard Gazette, “Bailar underwent a double mastectomy and transitioned into a man. He knew he didn’t want to quit swimming, but he was unsure about the University’s response. When Harvard’s women’s swimming and diving coach Stephanie Morawski and men’s swimming coach Kevin Tyrrell learned about Bailar’s transitioning, they both embraced him wholeheartedly.”
After the coach's approval, Bailar went on to swim at Harvard. However, he was given a choice whether he would like to compete in the men’s swim or women’s. Bailar chose to swim in men’s and then became the first NCAA D1 Division male transgender.
Some members and people of the nation did not support Bailar's decision, though others did. Bailar says in The Harvard Gazette, “A lot of my talks are about me proving my validity and my existence,” he said. “Sometimes, people disagree with my identity as a trans person, and while that can get exhausting, that constant questioning centers me and helps strengthen my conviction that this is who I am.” However, Bailar continued to push forward.
Bailar's award of becoming the first NCAA D1 Division male transgender is such an honor to the trans community. Yet, Bailiar’s legacy did not stop there. He has been on national television shows, international magazines and now has a large following to support him. Bailar is now happy with his life and with his choices, stating “I’m so thrilled about how everything turned out.”