Transgender athlete Schuyler Bailar is breaking records the hard way — by being himself. The Harvard University swimmer, who was assigned female at birth, is the first openly transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division 1 men’s team.
Bailar, 21, began his transition shortly before starting college in 2014. He wants LGBTQ youth to know that athletes like him exist.
“I mean me as a trans athlete who’s healthy, who’s happy, who’s out there, who’s succeeding, who’s doing what he loves, who gets to be who he is — I want kids to see that,” Bailar told NBC News.
Bailar went to high school in Virginia, where he was a star competitor on the girl’s swim team. His junior year, he broke his back during a mountain biking trip, rendering him unable to swim.
“Breaking my back broke me,” Bailar said, “because up until then swimming was my entire life.”