When Harvard freshman Schuyler Bailar joins the Crimson's men's swim team in the fall, it is believed he will be NCAA's first openly transgender swimmer, according to the Associated Press.
Bailar had originally been recruited to join Harvard's women's team but came out as transgender earlier this year and was offered a spot on the men's team.
“Initially the decision was, ‘Do I swim, or do I quit and transition?’” Bailar told The Harvard Crimson, the school's student newspaper. “I really didn’t want to give up swimming, but I also didn’t know how much longer I could do the living as a girl thing.”
The NCAA has an official 32-page policy for the inclusion of transgender athletes, which includes input from several former transgender college athletes. Among them is Kye Allums, who became the first openly transgender Division I athlete in 2010 when he was playing for the George Washington women's basketball team.
Bailar was a top high school recruit at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C., and also competed with a club team in Virginia. He has always identified as male. Bailar already underwent surgery to have his breasts removed and is undergoing hormone treatment.
The Harvard men's team did not hesitate to welcome Bailar, its coach said.
“We talked about how we're all about character and values, and I kind of gave my two cents: If we're going to say that we care about others, then this is something we should consider,” Harvard coach Kevin Tyrrell told the AP. “And basically all the guys said, within 15 seconds, ‘Yeah, let's do it.’”
- Dan Gartland