By the time Schuyler reached Baylor High School, he was one of the top 20 15-year-old breast strokers in the country. By 17, he set a national age-group record.
His hard work paid off when he was accepted to join the Harvard Swim Team in 2013, but before starting his freshman year, Baylor chose to address some ongoing health issues.
“I started battling an eating disorder halfway through my high school career, so I went to a rehab center for my eating disorder, which was my number one struggle,” Baylor tells Yahoo Life. “And that was really the place I was able to find out, to find out I’m transgender.”
Assigned to female at birth, Baylor was accepted into the women’s swim team. As he began to envision a new reality, he probably also had to deal with losing the chance to compete in the sport he loved.
“I’m an athlete, and I’d lose the women’s team if I made the transition. But when it became more clear that I wanted to transition, that I wanted to go through the healing phases in my transition, that I wanted to go through her/his pronouns. I want to leave, my coach Steph said, ‘What about the men’s team?'”
“It took a while to really take that risk for myself and my own happiness,” says Baylor.
Ultimately, Baylor decided to take the leap. And after a one-year hiatus, he became the first transgender athlete to compete in any sport on the NCAA Division 1 men’s team.
Baylor, now 25, uses her social platform to raise awareness about trans issues. One topic that has been in the national spotlight is the debate over how trans children play sports. Currently, more than 30 state legislatures have drafted bills to ban trans girls and women from playing female athletics. Baylor believes these bills are detrimental to the health of trans children.
“When this bill attacks these kids, it says, ‘You’re not here,'” says Ballar.
“When I think about it I go to bed, in a sad way and kind of teary-eyed, because a lot of trans kids don’t have the support of their parents, they have the support of their teachers. Doesn’t happen, or their friends. So for the government to add on that, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re not even in the game,’ it’s a pretty big message to these kids that they don’t belong.
Ron DeSantis of Florida Gov. on June 1 Signed a law banning transgender girls and women competing on women’s sports teams at the high school and college levels. The law also states that sports teams composed of either men or boys may be open to female students. in West Virginia, Government Jim Justice signed a law Which prohibits trans girls and women from competing in women’s sports in any public secondary school or college.
For Baylor, the argument that transgender athletes should not be able to compete with cisgender athletes is misguided. “None of these bills are talking about professional sports. None of them are talking about the Olympics. None of them are talking about elite level sport,” says Balor.
“There are already rules and regulations regarding trans people and our hormones in all elite level sports. So I had to submit to the lab to take testosterone as a trans man, to prove that my testosterone levels were high. The level was at a reasonable level,” he says.
On top of being kicked out of the sport, Baylor warned of aggressive methods that school officials would use to identify the gender of student athletes. “To do that, you have to test everyone. And some of these bills are proposing genital testing for children. To me, it’s pedophilic, it’s such a breach of privacy,” says Baller.
June is Pride Month, a time to honor the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 and the ongoing fight for equality. For allies, this is a time to listen, learn and take action. Baylor says a meaningful first step to show solidarity could be for non-trans people to publicly post their pronouns.
“I think a lot of people forget that if you’re not trans, you have pronouns too,” says Baylor. “Once you share your pronouns, you are about to create a safe space for trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary people to share our pronouns.”
Additionally, Baylor suggests Visiting her website to learn more about 144 Trans Bill In the United States that target access to sports and healthcare.
“I want to be very clear to all trans kids that you are here, you are in sports, you belong to healthcare, and the government is wrong. But a child doesn’t know that and it’s devastating to me,” she it is said. “It’s absolutely devastating to me.”
Produced by Jackie Cosgrove
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