Schuyler Bailar, first transgender D1 men’s swimmer, speaks at ECU

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – “I was assigned female at birth and I spent most of my childhood acting and presenting in a way that made me feel comfortable and ended up being in a more boyish. So I wore boys clothes, I had short boy hair,” said Schuyler Bailar.

Bailar said he suffered through years of bullying.

“I would go into the girl’s bathrooms because I had to and then people would be like what are you doing in here get out of here no boys in here you look like a boy and people were so mean to me in the bathroom,” he said.

The water is where he felt the most comfortable, it helped drown out the bullies.

“When I’m swimming, I’m no longer a gender, I’m just me. That is what makes me feel the most at peace with myself because I’m just swimming and I don’t have to be anybody’s expectation of anything,” said Bailar.

By age 15, Bailar was one of the nation’s top teen swimmers. Then, he broke his back, sending him on a downward spiral.

“I began struggling with an eating disorder, with depression,” he said.

A treatment center saved his life.

“I had a wonderful therapist who asked me to think about myself in a critical way that then allowed me to discover that I’m transgender,” Bailar explains.

That discovery gave him an opportunity. He made the transition and got a place on the Harvard men’s swim team.

“I think that first is the coach’s, its the team’s, it’s Harvard’s. It’s for everybody who supported me to get me there,” he said.

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