First Openly Trans NCAA Athlete Schuyler Bailar Gives Insight on Lia Thomas Competing

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman HodgesGarrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

We sat down with Schuyler Bailar, the first openly trans NCAA DI male athlete, to discuss what being a trans athlete, and trans human, means. This has come to the forefront of news lately in the case of Lia Thomas, the trans woman that is currently competing for the University of Penn women’s swim team. Bailar describes the importance of biodiversity in sport and how we see a discrepancy in how biodiversity is accepted. Bailar explains that while males with biological advantages are often praised for them, women, especially women in marginalized groups such as black or trans women, are received in the opposite way and see harsh criticism for these biological differences.

See Bailar’s Instagram post about this issue below:

Visit Schuyler Bailar’s website here.

Listen to SwimSwam’s interview with Lia Thomas here.

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Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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Steve Nolan
8 days ago

This was the first “drop everything I’m doing” – nothing really, tbh – “and listen” episode of the podcast yet.

I will admit to being “Siobhan”-d by Schuyler’s name. Sounds very different in my head!

Really appreciate this, guys. Schuyler is a hell of a resource and I’m not gonna pretend I made it through this with a dry eye. Just knowing he’s been supporting so many random trans athletes out there…I’m glad there’s someone out there doing it and I’m glad it’s someone that’s doing such a good job of it.

N80m80
8 days ago

Glad to see him on the podcast. I agree with a lot of what he said and think he’s obviously smart and passionate about this, even if I disagree with him

Rick Paine
8 days ago

We had the please of working with Schuyler and his parents in the recruiting process in getting her at the time get recruited at Harvard. What a tremendous transition he made and was still able to make the men’s team. What an outstanding young person.

ACC
Reply to  Rick Paine
8 days ago

I’m glad you got to know him and had a positive impression! Just as a heads up, it’s generally best to use someone’s current pronouns, even if you’re talking about them before they transitioned. The idea is that they always have been that gender, not just after transitioning.

A M
Reply to  ACC
7 days ago

That is the “idea”, but the bulk of the discussion and the resulting bias on both side is whether that “idea” is true or not.

50free
8 days ago

Dang call me sexist cause guys are better at sports by being guys

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  50free
8 days ago

I really didn’t think that it would be controversial to suggest that being assigned male at birth and going through puberty as a person with testes gives said person a competitive advantage over a cis female.

As 10 year olds, girls and boys are pretty similar in swim speed (perhaps even a slight advantage to girls?). Then by the age of 16 or so a good number of talented boys are swimming quicker than Sjostrom and McKeon. What gives?

Lkg4dmcrc

8 and under A times are the exact same for boys and girls. By 15 they are nowhere near each other.

Anonymous
Reply to  50free
6 days ago

Does anyone else wonder how easy it is to forget to take testosterone blockers before a big meet?

Swammer
Reply to  Anonymous
5 days ago

Are you insinuating that she would (intentionally or otherwise) self-sabotage her own transition all for the sake of MAYBE shaving off .01 seconds? Because……. no.

Nick
8 days ago

Bailar: Opposition to Thomas’ participation as a female is an effort by the “far right” to “police women’s bodies”, and is due to “misogyny and sexism”. More, imposing sex differences on youth sports requires exams that are tantamount to “pedophilia”. The quality of the arguments supporting the status quo is poor.

Taa
Reply to  Nick
8 days ago

Most accept her participation in swimming. Competing at the highest level against biological females not so much.

ACC
8 days ago

Schuyler’s instagram post made me curious, so I crunched some numbers:

According to a UCLA study in 2016, somewhere between 0.4% and 1.1% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 identify as trans. Based only on that, we’d expect between 20 and 75 trans women competing in D1 swimming. The fact that it’s only 1 is honestly surprising.

Last edited 8 days ago by ACC
N80m80
Reply to  ACC
8 days ago

Kinda hard to get into the NCAA when there’s a whole lot of complications from being trans in high school. Social, medical, legal, and otherwise

ACC
Reply to  N80m80
8 days ago

True, but if you think they have an inherent athletic advantage, you might think those would somewhat cancel each other out.

Xman
Reply to  ACC
8 days ago

You have to consider that a higher amount percentage of girls participate and m swimming then boys do. So if a trans-female is less likely to have participated in swimming while being a boy..

ACC
Reply to  Xman
8 days ago

According to an estimate I saw, there are around 150,000 boys and 200,000 girls in HS swimming. So that’s not a big enough discrepancy to make up the difference.

Xman
Reply to  ACC
4 days ago

How does that compare to total kids participating in a sport?

Out of all the boys who play a sport from say middle school through high school how many participate in swimming? Same for girls.

Coach
Reply to  ACC
8 days ago

Yeah it’s almost as if being trans and an NCAA athlete while everyone is questioning your deservedness to complete is incredibly difficult

Eagleswim
Reply to  ACC
8 days ago

It takes serious commitment to the sport to make it to that level (usually), and many trans young people are probably dealing with issues in their lives that make it harder for them to focus on athletics. It’s not that surprising to see them underrepresented at high levels of sport

James R
Reply to  ACC
6 days ago

That’s because they, unlike Lia Thomas, they would find it unethical as AMAB to swim against females.

yummy nummy
8 days ago

I believe the only way to solve this issue is to eliminate gendered sports. No more men’s and women’s teams. They’ve led to enough division in our sport and it’s time to finally come together. There is only one gender: human, and the sooner we can get that through our heads, the sooner we’ll see an end to this toxic situation. It’s only fair.

Ragnar
Reply to  yummy nummy
8 days ago

Group 1. Biological or identifying mens, and biological or identifying women division, AKA “NCAA open division”

Group 2. Biological women’s only division

That’s literally the only “fair” way for sporting events to be run. Identify how you want because it’s nobodies business, and complete as our genetics are. Why is this even a conversation

Last edited 8 days ago by Ragnar
Literate
Reply to  Ragnar
8 days ago

Good job not reading the post at all and continuing to use incorrect and transphobic terminology

HJones
Reply to  Literate
8 days ago

Oh, come on, get over yourself. “Biological male” and “biological female” aren’t transphobic terms. Just because one person claims that they are doesn’t mean that they have a universal hateful intent.

At what point can we return to reality?? Whether you like it or not, there are biological and physiological differences between a cis-woman and a transwoman. Your feelings are valid, but they may not always be facts.

A M
Reply to  HJones
7 days ago

Agreed. There are differences regardless of how a person define your “self”.

Opinions, even from people in the group under discussion, do not equal fact. They remain opinion.

Literate
Reply to  HJones
7 days ago

The people making the phobic term, in any scenario, do not get to decide whether or not it is offensive.

Beverly Drangus
Reply to  Literate
7 days ago

Your referring to HJones as “people” is a HJones phobic term. How dare you assume HJones’ species. Also, you can’t argue with me about this because you’re making the phobic term so you don’t get to decide whether or not it is offense in any scenario.

Swammer
Reply to  HJones
5 days ago

“Just because one person claims that they are doesn’t mean that they have a universal hateful intent.”

You do realize Schuyler is not the only individual stating this, right? Like the entire trans community finds it to be highly transphobic? Just making sure.

A M
Reply to  Literate
7 days ago

Disagreeing on the definition of a term does not make it “anything-phobic”.

Swimmer A
Reply to  Ragnar
8 days ago

Wouldn’t that out trans athletes though? Also could adjusting testosterone blockers/ estrogen level limits be a solution?

HJones
Reply to  Swimmer A
7 days ago

Are you kidding me?? Yes, it would likely out trans athletes, but we have to make sacrifices in life. If transgender athletes want to compete, then for the fairness of their competitors, they need to be honest about their biological nature. At some point, we need to come back to reality, and the athlete themselves needs to accept that as a result of their sex assigned at birth, they are not physiologically indistinguishable from the gender they identify with.

Furthermore, with respect to the test blocker/estrogen levels, there may also be a safety issue if the proposed solution requires athletes to take higher doses for longer periods of time. I have a very hard time believing that copious amounts… Read more »

Dudeman
Reply to  yummy nummy
7 days ago

Eliminating gender barriers in sports will only hurt biological women. That’s why there’s separate events for biological men and women to begin with, otherwise all competitions will just be between biological men as they will be the best at all sports that rely on speed and strength due to their biology

Not-so-Silent Observer
Reply to  Dudeman
7 days ago

Maybe look up the sport of Ultimate Frisbee and how they have three competition categories open, mixed and woman. One would think that mixed would be overrun by cus gender men, but that’s not true in the slightest.

There are ways to uplift everyone,

Dudeman
Reply to  Not-so-Silent Observer
7 days ago

Absolutely, but my response was related to the commenter saying to get rid of the separation between mens and womens events entirely and only have one set of events available to everyone. In cases of professional sports and Olympic events that would simply result in the removal of women in sports almost entirely. When money and gold medals are on the line in physical sports the teams and athletes will most likely be entirely male, as they will be faster and stronger than any biological women. Unless you make further rules stating the a specific amount of the team can’t be biological males, but then you’re back to separating out sports again with extra steps.

There are ways to… Read more »

HJones
Reply to  Not-so-Silent Observer
7 days ago

I’m 100% sure that a mixed category in swimming would be overrun with biological males. You see the times Dressel has been putting up lately?? Emma McKeon, Katie Ledecky, Cate Campell, and Sarah Sjostrom wouldn’t have names if they had to go up against him.

mnm
Reply to  Not-so-Silent Observer
6 days ago

Ultimate frisbee is not a sport that is highly dependent on strength, speed, & general athletic ability, so that is not a good comparison. A sport like swimming, track, and other such more physical sports will have a much higher discrepancy between the performance of biological men and women than sports like ultimate frisbee or shooting where the main factor is skill.

Fact Checker
Reply to  mnm
6 days ago

….bro. Ultimate frisbee isn’t dependent on strength or speed or general athletic ability???

Maybe not when you’re playing in your backyard with your nieces and nephews, but at an elite level, it’s every bit as dependent on those things as swimming is. Maybe more.

Distance Per Stroke
8 days ago

“It’s sexist to say men are better than women at sports” lmao what how dumb can you be. If this is the case remove gender categories altogether, women just don’t try as hard I guess.

HJones
Reply to  Distance Per Stroke
8 days ago

Borrowing words from another commenter, but once again this shows that an education from an elite school does not always produce wise people.

Troyy
Reply to  Distance Per Stroke
8 days ago

So many of the arguments for inclusion of transwomen in women’s sports could also be used to eliminate the women’s category entirely which is obviously something no one wants.

M d e
Reply to  Troyy
8 days ago

I’ve seen people on here arguing we should just have weight/height classes, so they absolutely do.

HJones
Reply to  M d e
7 days ago

Feel bad for all the female sprinters in Morozov’s weight/height class that are going to get smoked by his 21.2.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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