For Schuyler Bailar, it hasn’t always been easy to talk about himself. That’s because for part of his life, he wasn’t himself.
“So at birth I was assigned female, and I spent most of my childhood acting and presenting in a way that made me the most comfortable. I didn’t think a whole lot about it, and it ended up being in a boyish masculine sense,” said Bailar
Bailars Struggles In School
Despite being assigned as a female, some thought Bailar looked like a boy, which led to him being bullied.
“I was thrown out of every single girls bathroom that I went into, and I was constantly ridiculed for not looking like a girl. They would be like ‘What are you doing in here? Get out, no boys in here!’ And I was just like ‘I’m nine, I just have to pee’,” said Bailar.
History For The Trailblazer
Bailar, the first openly transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division 1 men’s team, shared his experience of the transition from female to male with community members who gathered at Metea Valley’s auditorium.
After high school, Bailar committed to swim at Harvard University. But before he stepped a foot on campus Bailar was enrolled in a treatment center in Miami.
Moment of Truth
“And in that space I was able to say for the first time in my life I am transgender,” Bailar said.
After realizing who he is, Bailar stuck with swimming, but this time with the men’s team and would go on to have a successful career.
Opening Up To Family Members
After the discussion, audience members had the opportunity to ask the former swimmer some questions. One asked what his family thought about Bailar coming out as transgender.
He recalled the time when he told his grandparents.
“My grandfather starts to clap, and he’s like ‘So you come out of the closet.’ And my grandmother says ‘I knew that’, and I’m like ‘Uou spent my entire child life giving me pink dresses, how did you know that?’ She’s like ‘Psh I knew that,’” said Bailar
Bailar ended the night with a heartfelt message.
“You can be exactly who you are, whatever that means to you. It doesn’t have to be transgender, queer, gay, or something to have to do with the LGBTQ spectrum,” said Bailar. “It can be something that differs from what your parents expect from you, or what society at large expects from you. You can be exactly that and also do what you love. Your identity never has to rob you of your own passions.”
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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