Schuyler Bailar, first transgender D1 men’s athlete, to speak at WSU

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Schuyler Bailar, first transgender D1 men’s athlete, to speak at WSU

Transgender swimmer, Schuyler Bailar, '19 came to Harvard recruited for the women’s team and became a member of the men’s team.

Transgender swimmer, Schuyler Bailar, '19 came to Harvard recruited for the women’s team and became a member of the men’s team.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Transgender swimmer, Schuyler Bailar, '19 came to Harvard recruited for the women’s team and became a member of the men’s team.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Transgender swimmer, Schuyler Bailar, '19 came to Harvard recruited for the women’s team and became a member of the men’s team.

Schuyler Bailar, the first transgender athlete on an NCAA Division-I men’s team, will speak Thursday at Wichita State about LGBTQ issues, masculinity, mental health, and eating disorders. The event is a part of WSU’s Diversity Lecture series.

Bailar originally committed to compete for the women’s swim team at Harvard, but after he took a gap year due to mental health issues and realized he was transgender while receiving mental-health treatment, the men’s coach extended an invitation for him to join the team.

“It actually terrified me at first. I said no at first,” Bailar told The Sunflower in a phone interview.

“I obviously decided to end up swimming for the men’s team, and that decision was mainly hinged on the fact that I knew that that was going to make me the happiest and was what was right for me.”

Bailar, a Washington D.C. native, has given over 100 talks at universities, corporations, and conferences. He has also appeared on the Ellen Show and 60 Minutes.

The talk at WSU is a part of his fall speaking tour that also includes stops at the University of Kansas and Kansas  State. Bailar said Kansas wasn’t purposefully his first stop, but it was a place he had on his mind.

“We expected [Kansas] didn’t have as many trans/LGBTQ inclusion resources … and we heard from the requests feeling like it would be a really good thing to bring that sort of exposure,” Bailar said.

Talking about gender identity to people when they’re younger helps them form their own identity and what they perceive as “normal,” he said.

“Talking to students in general is sort of the main focus of my public speaking and the reason for that,” Bailar said.

“First of all, students are in a mode of learning because they’re at a school. That’s the point of what they’re doing … I also think … kids are more ready to learn — not only because they’re at a place to learn, but where they’re at in their lives.”

Bailar said his advice for students who are struggling with their identity would be to listen to their self and do what will ultimately make them happy.

“They actually know more about themselves than they think they do and to really trust that and protect that and build a community that will help you protect that,” Bailar said.

Bailar graduated this year from Harvard with a degree in cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, and will begin his job in October in Seattle teaching emotional intelligence skills, according to his event page on Facebook.

Bailar’s talk will be held in RSC 265 at 6 p.m. Thursday. It is free and open to the public.