Since Caitlyn Jenner’s male-to-female operation — and her public appearance on Vogue’s cover — the sensitive and controversial topic of the transgender community has re-surfaced in the tabloids.
Many individuals who have lived in “false identities” have emerged in the headlines as a sense of spurring a revolution to educate others and work on accepting those who went through gender reassignments.
In spite of their bravery and spirit, some athletes are rejected competition, not on the basis of discrimination, but “on the premises of competitive fairness in a male or female sport.”
Below are some accounts of athletes who have embarked on a trail-towards-happiness, yet petrifying journey of swapping genders in hopes of obtaining eligibility in their chosen sports.
Schuyler Bailar – Harvard Swimmer
Schuyler Bailar, a born resident to Washington D.C. and a former member of McLean, VA-based Nation’s Swim Club, took up swimming at the ripe age of four.
Although born a female, the incoming Harvard freshman will enlist in the institution’s swim team in men’s competition.
Bailar decided to initiate the transition post-high school in 2014 and made a public announcement on his Instagram account stating, “I’ve just started my transition from #ftm [female to male]…and it’s been quite the ride…”
In regards to his outward appearance, as well as addressing friends and family, Bailar said, “I’m a tomboy” and “I wear ties instead of dresses.”
Despite the magnitude of discrimination in and outside of the pool, what was more important to Bailar was staying true to his own identity and principles. By foregoing women’s college swimming, Bailar will be coached by Harvard men’s swimming coach, Kevin Tyrell.
Tyrell didn’t hesitate in his admiration for Bailar.
The swim coach stated, “I want Schuyler on my team for the same reasons I want all of my athletes. I believe he wants to push himself academically and athletically. When all of our swimmers and divers have this mindset everyone improves daily in every aspect of their lives. This process will contribute to them being outstanding members of society.”
NCAA policy will permit Bailar to compete on Harvard’s men’s swimming team. And with the NCAA’s and Kevin Tyrell’s blessing, Bailar exclaimed “I’m competitive as hell and I want to do some winning and beating, too.”
Bailar encourages anyone going through the same situation to “come out. Be visible. Don’t be miserable. The world is changing and you have options.”
Fallon Fox – Transgender MMA Fighter
Fallon “The Queen of Swords” Fox is 39-year-old Chicago native, who is the first documented male-to-female MMA fighter.
Many fighters, like Ashlee Evans Smith, believe Fox shouldn’t be allowed to fight women due to her brute strength and her acts of displacing orbital bones (as she did in a 2014 fight vs. Tamikka Brents).
Since her last bout with Brents in 2014, Fox went 5-1 (3 TKOs, KO, 2 submissions). Her only loss was to Ashlee Evans-Smith in round three in 2013.
Chris Mosier – Runner/Executive Director of a Non-Profit
Born in 1980 in Chicago, Illinois, Chris Mosier became a highly touted and experienced runner as a female.
In 2009, Chris participated in a triathlon. But the following year, Chris brought it to the public’s attention of a medical transition to the male gender.
In addition to numerous accounts of recogniton, Chris was the first transgender man to be inducted in the Lesbian and Gay Hall of Fame in Chicago.
An announcement was made this year that Chris Mosier was selected to represent the U.S. men’s team in the 2016 World Championshp Duathalon in Spain.
Chloie Johnson – CrossFit Competitor
In 2014, Chloie Johnson filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against CrossFit declining her right to compete in the annual CrossFit tournament following gender reassignment surgery in 2006.
CrossFit objected to being “ignorant bigots” and that transgenders “will be welcome with open arms in this community, but what we will not waver from is our commitment to ensure the fairness of the competition.”