V Interesting

Collective Liberation with Schuyler Bailar, Reno-viction Warning, Cancer-Free Undersea

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So-called “renovictions” are gaining in popularity, displacing renters and erasing affordable units in tight housing markets. What can whales teach us about fighting cancer? And V chats with Schuyler Bailar, the first transgender athlete to compete in a NCAA Division 1 men’s sport, about gender justice and his upcoming book “He/She/They: How We Talk about Gender And Why It Matters.”

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Schuyler Bailar, V Spehar

V Spehar  00:00

Hey friends, it’s June 23 2023 Welcome to V interesting, where we break down the viral and very interesting news you may have missed. I’m V Spehar and today, why it may not be such a good thing if your landlord offers to renovate your apartment. What whales can teach us about fighting cancer. And swimmer Schuyler Bailar is here to talk not just about the debate surrounding transgender athletes, but what it’s like to actually be one yourself. All that more on today’s be interesting from Lemonada Media. Let’s be smart together. And now for some headlines. For all you renters out there. Doesn’t it sound nice if your landlord just out of the blue was like hey, you know what I’ve been thinking about it and I’d really like to renovate your place. I’m going to put in some new wood floors. upgrade that old electric stove that can barely boil water. Maybe even add a couple of new nice lighting fixtures above the kitchen table. sound good to you? Beware pal, Reno evictions are taking cities by storm. And while the first half of the word sounds good, the second half is just terrible. Rent evictions are when landlords announced huge renovation plans that require everyone to leave. Once those renovations are done, the tenants are typically not allowed to renew their leases until they agree to a huge rent increase, which can sometimes be double what they paid before. It’s becoming more and more common in places with tight housing markets. Why? Because it’s one of the few ways property owners can evict tenants without just cause and they know someone else is just waiting in the wings to get that newly souped up apartment and are willing to pay that much higher rent. Take Santa Barbara California where the median rent is $2,500. tenants rights organizers in Santa Barbara say rent evictions are erasing what remains of affordable housing in the city. And organizers are putting pressure on the city to ban remodels unless there are real livability concerns. Rent evictions are happening in so called Second cities too. Those are the places that have blown up in popularity as remote work becomes more common and people leave the coast for more affordable places to live. Take Boise Idaho for example. It used to just be a random spot on the map. And now it’s inundated with Californians who got priced out of their own state and are now pricing out the Jim Staters. The Boise dev wrote about 40 year old John Berry who lived in the same rental home for 12 years raising his family. One day during the pandemic he got a note from his landlord saying that the owner plan to renovate and he had just three months to find a new place to go. Luckily, he found something, but it was nearly twice as much as he was paying at his old place. Some states are standing up to rent evictions. In California, a bill was introduced in the state senate called the Homelessness Prevention Act. It aims to deter property owners from doing this rent evicting thing by increasing the amount that a property owner must pay renters to relocate. It would also require landlords to cover temporary relocation costs and requires them to re rent the apartment to displace tenants at the same price. Landlords are balking at the proposal. They say they have to be allowed to raise the rent at least enough to maintain their properties. Sure, but you have to double the rent to do that. I mean, come on. If you’re or a renter and have received any concerning letters from your landlord reach out to your local tenants rights organization. Oftentimes, they can connect you with a lawyer who can help you understand your rights and give you advice free of charge. Because new crown molding is never worth kicking a family to the curb. Speaking of less than savory characters, the FBI is still arresting people who were a part of the January 6 attack. I know it’s been so long you think they would have got them all by now? But nope, they are still arresting people still finding folks who were there on January 6, more than 1000 people in counting have been charged in the capital riot.

V Spehar  05:41

Yes, including that Qanon Shaman. And this is what’s been called the most wide ranging investigation in the history of the Justice Department. And it’s not your typical bad guys, right? It’s this weird mix of like little league coaches and hair stylists and I don’t know maybe some of your dad’s golf buddies. And recently, the FBI arrested the owner of a chain of funeral homes from Long Island. According to NBC News, Peter Maloney is accused of spraying bug spray at police officers and assaulting members of the media. I mean, this is not a funny story, but I mean, it is kind of funny. Peter runs the business with his brother Damn, it’s called Maloney family funeral homes and Dan said in a statement that the alleged actions of his brother are in no way reflective of the core values of the business. Even though Peters name is on the business, Dan, even though Peters faces in all of the advertisements. I mean, Peter is the lead actor in the commercials there’s a dance nowhere to be seen in these commercials. I’m so sorry, Dan. But if you decide to go into business with your brother, his baggage becomes your baggage. And in this case, his baggage contained a can of black flag Wasp, Hornet and Yellow Jacket killer that he used to spray in the faces of police officers. Allegedly allegedly, Peter was identified and eventually charged thanks to an online network that successfully tracked down hundreds of capital writers. They call themselves the Sedition hunters. It’s a global community of open source investigators who comb through publicly available videos and photographs to find rioters Wanted by the FBI. They also try to find out if these people have committed any other crimes, and then pass that information along to law enforcement. Their website has what they call a perp sheet. Basically a bunch of thumbnail images of all the people who are at the capitol that day. Some have pretty hilarious hashtags next to their picture like hashtag Capitol boyband, and hashtag face paint blowhard. Peter Maloney or hashtag black Bano helmet because in one photo he’s wearing a black helmet and glasses that make them look like the singer Bano faces a bunch of charges. They include felony civil disorder, assaulting resisting or impeding certain officers assault by striking and five additional misdemeanor counts. His son joined him at the Capitol but has not yet been charged with a crime. His son also works at the family’s funeral home and you guessed it also appears alongside his father in commercials for the business. I wonder if this is helping or hurting business? I mean, it’s hard to tell on Long Island Do you know? Or wait? Is this like an idea for six feet under spin off? sedition mortician I’m gonna call HBO. We got a whole new show to do. Too bad the writers are on strike or I bet we could get this one through.

V Spehar  08:33

Let’s turn now from six feet underground to six feet underwater, which as we saw from the folks who went looking for the Titanic this week is a dangerous place we should not be going to Yes, friends. We’re talking about the ocean. It’s full of amazing animals and mysteries, mysteries that should stay mysteries. Okay, well, maybe when it comes to looking for Victorian ghosts or aliens, we should leave the ocean alone. But on the other hand, we can learn so much from the marine environment. Scientists are even looking to the ocean to see what it can teach us about medicine. That’s right. Researchers right here at the University of Rochester are studying bowhead whales to see why they live so long and why they rarely get cancer. The gigantic mammals can live more than 200 years and they think they may know why. Tissue samples collected from the animals reveal their cells may be repairing damaged DNA. That means they can be mending damage that could otherwise lead to cancer causing genetic glitches. In fact, many large bodied animals seem to be especially cancer resistant, which is weird because the risk of developing cancer should theoretically increase with the number of cells an organism has right. So why do so many big animals seem cancer proof? It’s a puzzle that actually has a name. It’s called paedos paradox.

V Spehar  09:53

Elephants for example, can live nearly as long as humans and rarely die from cancer and scientists at the University Utah health in Salt Lake City, I think they may have found the reason why elephants have extra copies of a tumor blocking gene that may help them deal with DNA damage by clearing out afflicted cells. All of these findings underscore the importance of studying animals with low cancer rates, like dolphins and humpback whales too, because they could teach us a thing or two about how to lower cancer rates in humans. And that’s not the only way medicine is looking to the ocean. Take octopuses, octopi Octopodes, who knows all three of those options on where to me, but I digress. Apparently, those particular animals can edit their own genes as well. A team of scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Tel Aviv University found that some cephalopods I’m also not sure if I’m saying that right, we’re going to need Hank Green to call in. Anyway, cephalopods can modify their RNA while leaving their DNA unaltered. No one knows for sure, but some researchers believe it could help explain why these creatures are so smart and complex. I mean, their skin can detect light, they change color and skin textures to blend into their environment. They can unlock their own cages, they use tools and squeeze into just about anything. And Paul the Octopus correctly predicted a bunch of Soccer World Cup matches back in 2010. They even inspire people to write best selling books and make Netflix shows about them. Is there anything they can’t do? It is exciting to think about the advances in medicine that we could make thanks to the animals in our ocean, the potential to one day just cure cancer outright. I mean, a girl can dream right? This is just one more reason to protect our natural world.

V Spehar  11:44

Alright, summer’s heating up and that ocean calls I know the rhetoric has been extra fiery lately, though, and you may be feeling a little uncomfortable traveling maybe a little bit more difficult for you, especially as a queer person to find some place to cool down rest and relax. Well, I’ve got some ideas. Thanks to my pals at purple roofs. It’s an amazing online directory of LGBTQ plus friendly lodging, travel agents and tour operators. They offer recommendations for queer friendly travel, queer family friendly places you can go and stuff you can do that puts your safety first. And even if you’re not a queer person, I’m telling you go and wear the gays go on vacation, you’re gonna have a good time. Alright, we’re not called the arbiters of excellence and arts for nothing is gonna be a nice safe vacation, queer or not. But let’s take a look at these organizations. Like take out of office, a team of queer travel experts that curate travel experiences with your passions and needs in mind, or Olivia travel and all lesbian travel company that plans all kinds of dope vacations all around the world. They also provide security and concierge services that can make traveling pretty much anywhere with them feel safer. And you’ll be sure to be in good community while you’re out there. I’m actually doing an Olivia travel event in October. So stay in touch on Instagram and Tiktok to hear all the details and maybe even join me if you can’t. But if you’re just looking for a little place to go look at a tree or something something nice and easy. Hiking, national parks, and little Trailways are waiting for you. No matter where you live. The trees don’t care if you’re clear.

V Spehar  13:19

The rocks don’t ask your pronouns. The lake doesn’t have a gender divide. Nature just accepts you as you are and gives you space to let your mind rest and enjoy the miracle of just being one with nature. Plus, if you stay overnight, sometimes nature will let you make s’mores. Or maybe you don’t want your mind to rest and you’re interested in exploring history. Let me turn you on to the cutest little town in Maryland. It’s called Frederick and I used to live there. And when it comes to exploring Civil War history, this place alongside the Genesee country village and museum in western New York are the most queer friendly and inclusive. If you love to ride roller coasters, BB going to Florida doesn’t feel super safe right now. But have you ever felt the exhilarating vibes of Six Flags New Jersey? I mean, are the roller coasters going to make it over the hump? I don’t know. But I’m excited to find out. Or maybe you want to check out Dollywood or Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Tennessee can be an unfriendly place but you are always welcome at Dollywood. And the best part about vacation. You can pack your favorite podcasts like this one. It doesn’t even take up any room in your luggage. And I’ve heard my dulcet tones sound even better in your ears when you’re just lounging on the beach with a pina colada in hand. Or maybe again join me in person on Olivia travels October trip to Punta Cana, his dream resorts. I’ll have more details on how to join the fun on all the social medias whether you love to swim at the beach or you’re more of a pool girlie I know you’re gonna love our next guest. Swimmer Skyler Baylor is the first transgender athlete to compete on an NCAA division one men’s team. He’s going to talk about what goes on Harvard was like for him his upcoming book, and how the societal rhetoric surrounding trans athletes is different for men compared to women. Stick around, we’ll be right back.

V Spehar  16:32

There’s been a lot of debate recently about whether transgender athletes should be allowed in professional sports and transphobia is still rampant as conservatives push to have trans people excluded from public life in general. Now, I know this can all be pretty demoralizing, which is why I’m happy to share this conversation with my friends. Schuyler Baylor Skyler is an advocate for trans inclusion and is the first transgender athletes to compete on any NCAA division one men’s team. Skyler is someone who isn’t only fighting transphobia but is working all the time to help people understand the struggles trans people face and make gender inclusion a reality in our world. Skyler has a new book coming out soon called he she they have we talked about gender and why it matters. The book invites readers to understand the spectrum of gender identity and lays out an argument on why trans liberation benefits everyone in society. In my interview, I asked what myths about trans people Skyler as debunking in his book, we discussed what collective liberation means to him. And we chat about his days competing for the Harvard men’s swim team, all of that, and it’s really illuminating and nourishing conversation, which I feel is especially needed as misinformation about trans athletes continues to dominate the conversation online and on the field. Here’s my interview with Schuyler. Hey, Schuyler. Hey, how’s it going? What’s happening? So welcome to the show. Just wanted to check in how are things going for you? We’re about halfway through Pride Month.

Schuyler Bailar  18:49

Yeah, Pride Month is Pride Month is going I can’t believe that we’re halfway through it. I have to say, I’m very happy that we’re halfway through it. I am not like, you know, I love seeing queer and trans people everywhere. But I wish we could do that all year round and be pride to me. It’s just like it’s tiring. You know, it’s really tiring. It’s really busy. I feel a lot of pressure. And so I yeah, I’m tired, I think is the shortest answer to your question.

V Spehar  19:13

I am also not really a pride girly, I am in the way that I love to celebrate our community. And it’s such a busy time. And it’s great to have the spotlight and like get people to know our issues. But to your point, it’s like from the moment you wake up, especially as a public figure to the moment you go to sleep. You’re just inundated with love and sometimes met with equal if not increased hate for having that spotlight. So I feel Yeah, it can be. It can be a lot it can be great. It’s June baby. Before we get into the chat, I wanted to get some of your hot takes on some current headlines surrounding the trans community and see kind of just like what you’re what you’re thinking about stuff. Last week, the White House hosted a pride event on the lawn that featured families and trans folks. We saw the big progress queer flag flying right along those two American flags. This is the first time I have seen a show up of queer folks at the White House ever. And I thought it was such a beautiful celebration. Were you there? Or did you get to see anything about it?

Schuyler Bailar  20:19

Yeah, I was there. I was very pleasantly surprised. You know, I’m I have been to a couple of like White House events before. And the people I meet are always super nice. And I have a good time. But you know, it’s still the government and it’s still the government in a country that is disenfranchising actively are our people, the LGBTQ plus community specifically, but also lots of other kinds of marginalized people. So there’s always this like this like hesitancy of a feeling and hesitancy is probably the the lightest way to say it. It’s pain that comes up grief, anger, frustration. But this actually, I really enjoyed myself, there was a ton of it wasn’t like the government that I enjoyed it was the fact that there were so many other queer people there, and trans people there. And there’s people that I hadn’t seen in a long time, people I’d never met in person, but have an internet friends with so I think they did a really good job of bringing a lot of people together. And, and it was joyful. It really was. The couple hours I was there, I had a good time. So I was I was enthused, it’s also the largest pride celebration that White House have ever thrown. It’s the first time like you said the progress pride flag has been flown on the actual building. And Biden said some pretty important things, whether or not they have actual impact legislatively on the United States is another story, but But I do think it’s powerful that he stood up to say trans youth have a message, especially for you, your loved your heard, and I’ve got your back. So that was powerful to me, as a as a trans kid inside.

V Spehar  21:45

One thing that we run into when street culture and queer culture intersect around a pride event is how we act at the events and what is considered family friendly and what is not. And what are the rules of how you can behave or how you can show up or how you can celebrate your pride. And there was some controversy surrounding some trans folks who had posed in front of the White House with their shirt off showing their top surgery scars or their post top surgery, breast implants, not nipples, there was no nipples being shown. And the White House came out against it. And I thought that while I wouldn’t maybe show my boobs at the White House, you know what this is pride, okay, and all different, all the different ways that we show up. Those are the ways that folks do show up at parades and in the community and in the clubs and are proud to show off these scars, these battle scars that we have as trans people’s, especially the top surgery scars. Did you ever take on on that?

Schuyler Bailar  22:38

Yeah, you know, I, I think that for me when I think about chests. And I’m going to say specifically that because that was the issue. And then I have more broad thoughts. But let’s start there. I my personal journey, which is really all I can speak to in this sense, I have had to censor my chest before I transitioned. And if I show photos of me and me, they’re both me, they’re both all me before my transition. And after, if I were to not put little black boxes, or little blurred out boxes on top of my nipples, and we’re really on top of my breasts before my surgery, then my post can get taken down my account can get reported. And that’s happened before even without doing it even when I censor because people still report me as as a woman, quote unquote. So there’s also transphobia. But that aside, it is clear that I have to censor my chest before surgery and not after surgery. And the reason for that is very, very easily defined as misogyny, right, easily defined as the policing of quote, women’s bodies, even though both bodies are mine. And I’m a man. So I think what for me is there’s actually a bigger conceptual issue, I don’t really care too much specifically about the White House incident, I think it’s a deeper, a deeper seated issue that sexualizes women’s bodies, or what one considers a woman’s body. And I mean, both of those things, because it depends on because I wasn’t a woman, but people consider me that from before I transition. So I think it’s actually a bigger issue. It’s not about the White House. It’s not about family friendly. It’s not about even top surgery, scars, to some degree, all of these things are relevant, of course, but the core issue is that we sexualized women’s bodies, and therefore make it you know, not safe for work, quote, unquote. And that’s the problem to me, because in many indigenous cultures and many cultures before, you know, white supremacy took over the world. Actually, a lot of people didn’t wear shirts, regardless of what parts were underneath it and there’s a great image you might have seen it online that shows a person who has breasts and a person who doesn’t and it has all these arrows pointing at the different tissue and it’s exactly the same. One just has more fat tissue usually and you know, enlarged mammary glands and what have you, right developed mammary glands, but anyways, I’m babbling here, but the the core part is the misogyny that’s rooted in policing and sexualizing women’s bodies or anybody considered a woman’s body. And I think that’s an issue that we have to dissect, but I think it’s going to Take time, because if we can’t even desexualize, trans and queer people, how are we going to? How are we going to be sexualized, the thing that we have considered is equal to sexual in pretty much every facet of the world. Right? Whether it be the internet, the websites that you go to public life walking down the street, those you know, what’s considered safe for work is also really aligned with white supremacy and the patriarchy.

V Spehar  25:25

He makes such an excellent point, which brings me to my next question about the headlines as I spend an awful lot of time with them. So much of the hateful propaganda that’s being levied against trans people is being packaged as a feminist. This is a feminist fight. We are protecting women, we are protecting girls. And that’s just not true. Can you sort of speak to your feelings on why people are doing that?

Schuyler Bailar  25:48

Yeah, people package their transphobia their hatred and even their misogyny? As quote feminism, because it is an incredibly effective manipulative tactic. Right? It is. So it works. It really does. And we’ve seen it it is working right now. And so what the trick is, and it’s actually quite a simple trick, it says, let me make Let me make you fear, some group of people by telling you that including them, is somehow going to harm another group you care about, right? Well, I’m not telling you that, first of all, those groups are not that dissimilar, that they’re not distinct. And then secondly, trying to incite that moral panic, use your good intention to care about this group that you already care about to then hate this other group that you think you shouldn’t care about. Right. So that’s a lot of terms. I’m sorry, but to put it really, really bluntly, if I can trick you into thinking trans people are the problem by telling you that doing so you’re excluding them, if somehow feminists then you will get tricked into thinking I want to do the right thing. I want to be feminist, I want to protect children, I want to protect women. Yeah, of course. Easy, right. And therefore, you need to then exclude these people, when in reality, the same people pointing the fingers are usually the ones doing the harm. So in this case, most of those lawmakers are abusing power, right. And not even most of they are abusing power. And they’re doing so in the name of feminism, when in reality, if you actually want to fight for women and for girls, then you wouldn’t exclude certain women and certain girls, you would include all women and all girls and advance all women and all girls.

V Spehar  27:22

Right. And you made a great point on tick tock the other day talking about how it’s not fair to just allow people to accept the idea that trans children are dangerous that they could hurt a real other child somehow, when there’s no proof of that. And you talked about it in terms of sports. I mean, on my cheerleading squad, we had a six foot to 260 pound girl and she was she was a biological female to us. There were two whatever this idea that there’s a trans monster children are out there and they’re going to like, attack your petite baby girl is just not true. It’s a boogeyman that doesn’t exist. But I wanted to get your take on that as well.

Schuyler Bailar  27:59

Well, absolutely. I mean, it’s they are, they’re not only demonizing trans Nis and trans children and trans people, but they’re also adult to find children. They’re trying to make these. And that’s that’s, that’s a that’s not a new tactic, by the way that’s been long perpetuated against black children, for example. And we see that even in the justice system that consistently tries black children are way more likely to try black children as adults than then other children, specifically white children. But it’s a way of demonizing of othering of adult defying of removing the child witness of a kid who is somehow marginalized already. I think it is deeply cruel to do this. I think that it is deeply irresponsible. And I think it is all about power and control of the people who are trying to gain their power and control or keep their power in control. With children, specifically there, you’re absolutely right people have this idea of a boogeyman that doesn’t exist. There has been no evidence that supports that trans kids are somehow harmful to other kids. In fact, trans kids, trans people are four times more likely to be victims of violent assault than cisgender people are. With the bathroom argument specifically trans kids who are not allowed to use the bathrooms of their gender identity are more likely to experience sexual assault in school bathrooms. When I read that statistic, I was like they’re experiencing sexual assault in school bathrooms already, right? But they’re expressing more it’s like 23% versus 36% of trans kids will experience sexual assault in bathrooms, when they don’t only aren’t aren’t allowed to use their gender identity. So there’s, they’re these arguments, I’m gonna get lost in the numbers. But the numbers are important too, because the other side is lying about the numbers. But these these, these are kids and I’ve spent so much time with these kids too. And they are also your your, your little baby girl or baby kids or baby boys, you know, they’re not threatening anybody and you would know that if you knew them. But you’re creating this, you know, this image of a monster basically because it benefits you politically, financially and with regards to power and control.

V Spehar  29:57

And this isn’t just a uniquely American Express answer unfortunately, we just saw a story out of Canada. An elderly couple attended a local girls track meet to support their granddaughter and accused a nine year old girl who was born female uses she her pronouns of being a male simply because she had a short haircut and then demanded a genital exam. This guy said that based on his 17 years as a coach, he knew that two girls in the competition were definitely boys, or at least trans. Neither of these children were and it resulted in a screaming match between the parents mortified children and crying child crying children. Just can you imagine being nine? I mean, the embarrassment of just being nine years old alone is a lot nevermind having some strange man screaming at you, you know, and demanding a genital exam? I can’t imagine the fear that those children were going through. What how do we stop this?

Schuyler Bailar  30:55

Well, first of all, it’s just disgusting. I mean, it’s absolutely disgusting behavior that these people are acting this way, especially grown adults about children. My first response is people need to they need to, they need to grow up and get a hobby. Like there’s I say that with love as well. I know I sound angry. But I mean it lovingly because what kind of pain and misery do you have in your life that you’re showing up at a kid’s sporting competition, and yelling at children to have genital exams because you want to make sure it’s quote, fair. It’s also important to remember that nine year old doesn’t matter. really doesn’t matter. They haven’t even reached puberty yet. So there is no no biological differences to speak of, except for the presence or absence of penis. If you’re playing sports with your penis, that is a very different problem. So, and it’s not usually a problem we’re having in sports. Anyways. My point is that it’s disgusting behavior, despicable behavior, even if you’re not considering transits to be involved, right? Why are you yelling at children at all? In a sporting competition? Well, why are you really yelling at children? Period? Then why are you yelling at sporting competition? Then why are you yelling about fairness? It with nine year olds when they’re just playing a game together? And then of course, the trans is comes as well? Why do you care about what gender they are? And now you’re policing cisgender girls bodies, too. So that’s not new. The other thing is people think that this concept of policing women’s sports is is somehow new, because trans women want to play and that’s also not true. We’ve seen a long history of policing women’s bodies and sports specifically who black women and other women that are considered quote, not woman enough, by the way that patriarchy and white supremacy love to hold their hands right and hold to hold the game together. So I you know, how do we fix this? Your question is a good one. I think the first thing is really to get more education about trans and queer people out there because people have really distorted wrong images and of trans people and information that is just it’s not information, it’s lies. It’s propaganda, which is why I try to do the work that I do to educate and why you know, I do speaking why I’ve written my book, Why host my podcast, I’m sure it’s part of why you host yours. Because all of these things are trying to get that information out to people that they just don’t have. And going back to your original question about the twisting of feminism, people think they’re doing the right thing. Like somewhere in there, a lot of people seemingly that I’ve talked to really believe that they’re doing the right thing, when they’re supporting the exclusion of trans children, and specifically trans women, trans girls. But if you really get into it, it’s a not actually helpful, or the right thing and B, it’s actually for them, not even about trans people. It’s about something they are holding in their own insecurities, their own pain, something that they’ve been told about gender that they’ve held on to as the way to live their life. I think a lot of people have learned that gendering yourself a specific way living your your own gender in a certain way is their own ticket to belonging. And once we can break that, then I think everybody can just belong and not have to use gender to do so.

V Spehar  33:56

We’ve heard a lot about, you know, trans women and women’s sports. But for folks who might not know, Skyler was on the D one men’s team at Harvard University, which is no small feat. Can you tell folks about that journey how you got to that place?

Schuyler Bailar  35:59

Well, you know, I started swimming when I was 10 months old. So I was less than one years old. I’ve always loved the pool. I got good at swimming. When I was in my like middle school years, my mom was like, you can swim year round. And I was like, no way you can swim in the winter two. So I started playing year round, loved it wasn’t amazing at it. But I was okay. And as I got older, I got better. And somewhere around my like early teens, I started to be good. And then in my, in my high school years, I got recruited to swim at Harvard, also a bunch of other schools, committed some for Harvard. But in that interim, a lot of things sort of began falling apart for me, I broke my back, I began struggling with an eating disorder. And I just feel like my life kind of fell apart. And I’d already committed to swim for Harvard. So there was like this, there’s a security of that. But there’s also like, I’m miserable. And I don’t know what to do. And so I took a gap year between high school and college, my my coaches were supportive of that I tried to figure out a lot about myself. And that was when I realized that I was transgender. I am transgender. And then the whole next big thing of like, Oh, my God, what do I do about sports came in. Because while learning that I’m trans was definitely this, this breath out, right? A deep breath of this is the thing that like really explains a lot about who I am. It also was like, but sports like what am I going to do about this thing I love more than anything in the world. Essentially, what happened was, I was able to swim for the men’s team. It took me some time to accept that, that that proposition because I wasn’t ready to let go of all the success I’d worked my whole life for in the women’s category. But I knew I needed to be all of me in sport, and that not doing so would really cost me a lot of my own happiness, and maybe my life honestly. So I started swimming for the men’s team, swim all four years on the men’s team. And did okay, I didn’t end up I will my goal was not to get last I ended up in the rankings were that I was that beat 85% 86% of men in my event. So I ended up being in the top like 15%. So that was pretty cool.

V Spehar  38:00

I’ll take that. That is pretty cool. And after suffering such a catastrophic injury. And through that experience, you had top surgery at that time as well.

Schuyler Bailar  38:10

Yeah. Yeah, I had top surgery during my gap year.

V Spehar  38:13

If it’s not too personal. How did you get back in shape host top surgery, swimming. And I’m asking kind of as a personal for me, who also just had top surgery last year and is having a difficult time, like rebuilding muscle and getting used to just the way your body looks and back into athletics. Do you have any advice for people post top surgery workout?

Schuyler Bailar  38:34

Yeah, I mean, the number one thing is don’t don’t work out. Like you gotta let your body heal. Yeah, no, seriously, a lot of people. They’re like, okay, when can I get back into the pool? When can I get back to running? When can I lift weights? The doctor will tell you usually it’s what I’ve heard from lots of different people over the years is it’s about six to nine weeks depends on the doctor how much time they want you to do absolutely nothing. And that’s really amount of time for the scars to heal so that the skin won’t burst. Essentially, your incision won’t burst. And you need to you need to do that. And the only people I know that had complications from top surgery have been people who violated that rule. People who went for a run to early people who were like, no, no, I’m okay. I’ll pick up my backpack. It will be fine. Like people were like, no, no, I have to get back to the gym. No, give yourself the time. For me. I believe it was seven weeks I can’t remember actually at this point. And I waited seven weeks to the day and on the close of that, that that last week I jumped in the pool and began swimming again. And for me it was really important because that was March. Like the rush felt really important. It was March before my before I would start on the men’s team and at this point I had not swum for a year. And I don’t know if you know anything about swimming, but swimming you don’t ever take that much time off like you you maybe take like a week off in August every year. So I’ve taken a year off and now this was to start on the men’s team. I was absolutely terrified. So I got back in the pool as soon as possible. But I will say A for me a lot of the healing stuff was very like you actually have to do a lot of like massaging of the skin that was actually the biggest part for me is like when you get top surgery, they’re they’re pulling your skin together at least if you get double incision. And so when you put your hands over your head, it can feel like it’s stretching your whole chest out. And it is and so I always tell people, if they’re worried about the thickness of their scars, then they should wait a little bit, even longer than what the doctor might recommend. I was very unconcerned with my scars stretching. So I like I said jumped right in. And I love my scar. I don’t regret it one bit. But I also learned that it wasn’t just that that I don’t know if you can see Leno listeners can’t but I have a big scar on my elbow, too. That looks exactly like my chest scar. So it turns out that I didn’t stretch it a whole lot. It’s just how my skin heals.

V Spehar  40:46

What did you feel like that first time you jumped in the pool? On the men’s team, no shirt, post surgery, getting your swim on?

Schuyler Bailar  40:56

Yeah, well, actually, the first time I jumped in the pool without a shirt on, or a quote women’s suit. So we call them jammers. The ones that go through your knee to your hip. So not the tiny little triangular Speedo. The first time I wore the gym or was at the Harvard pool, but it wasn’t with the men’s team. I was actually training with like a co-ed. We call it like a Masters team. While I was waiting to start that fall, and it was nice because it was at Harvard. It was around people I was comfortable with but it wasn’t with the men’s team. So I could be like, in my own bubble for a bit. But I was terrified. I walked down to deck it was like I we all planned it. Like I told the coaches I told other people there I was like, This is what I’m going to do. I’m going to come tomorrow in a different suit. Like I told everybody in my lane. So I walked in this suit. I’m usually like the first one in the water by like five minutes because I like to get an early, but I was sitting on the pool deck with all my clothes on, on the bench. And I was like I can’t do it. I can’t do it. How am I gonna jump in this pool? Everybody’s gonna see me. I don’t know what I’m gonna do. And my coach of the time a really nice guy. Not he’s not. He’s not he was not the Harvard coach. He’s like a masters coach anyways, he was like, you just got to do it. Like there’s nothing that you’re going to do between here and getting in the pool that’s going to help you like you just have to do it. Yeah, so I like took off my pants and my sock first. Like, with my shirt, and I was like, oh my god when I get to do so I stood up and I like in one motion, like took off my shirt and then like jumped in the pool.

V Spehar  42:24

Because like a lot of us do it honestly, for many different reasons.

Schuyler Bailar  42:27

Yeah, sure. Yeah. But I knew that once I got in the water, it was going to be fine. Like the water has always been my safety always been my my comfort, the thing that holds me, but it was like the moment when my shirt came off to when I got in the pool. That was the terror. But after that it became it came so much easier. You know, I think the first time is like 100 times harder than the second time. And that one’s probably 100 times harder than the next one. And it drops off quickly. And yeah, and I’ve never stopped I’ve now especially when I started wearing a speedo I was like this is awesome. I get to be myself. And like all this nakedness. All this transmits. And here I am. So I still wear a speedo when I go to the beach.

V Spehar  43:05

How did your teammates take it? When you joined the team? Were they welcoming? Did you notice that other schools were welcoming? Or like what what? What kind of world did you enter into?

Schuyler Bailar  43:17

Yeah, so my Men’s coaches named Kevin Terrell on Harvard, he was very welcoming. But everybody was very honest about Listen, like, we want you to do this, and we want you here, but we have no idea what we’re doing. And I was like, great, meaning they’re cool. Let’s just like do it together, you know, everybody’s first time. Exactly. And it wasn’t like we could call up other coaches or other people like I didn’t have people to call either. And there were a couple of trans athletes that had come before me. But it just wasn’t the same in so many ways. Chi alums had competed on the the women’s basketball team, and Jay platano had he been on the men’s team, but he wasn’t really like he wasn’t really out about it. Like in that, like, it wasn’t a big story. Chris Moser was was you know, out and about, but he wasn’t on a team or in college. There’s just like, so many. I just didn’t have somebody to be like, You know what I’m doing help, you know. So it was lonely, I would say, and my coaches and my teammates were supportive in that they were like, Let’s try, you know, but people still misgendered me a lot that first year. And there were all there were definitely people who didn’t want me there or who were very uncomfortable with me there. But the majority of the team was great. The majority of the team was like, we’re here. We’re trying to figure it out, tell us what we can do better. And I tried to be really forthcoming. I tried my motto was like, I want you to ask me instead of just wonder, I want to talk to you instead of you just like think these things about me. And I had a lot of grounding to be able to do that. I think, from therapy from my own experience from having supportive parents and having other friends that were supportive. And I say that because I don’t want other people to expect that like the way to get through it is to always ask the trans person questions.

V Spehar  44:58

Everybody wants to be the resource Yeah, got Tyler. Yeah, he’ll be a good resource.

Schuyler Bailar  45:03

Exactly. And I volunteered myself for that for two reasons. One, I felt like I could, and it was the best way to go about it. But to I didn’t have another option, like, it wasn’t like I was going to, again, look to somebody else to do it for me. So overall a great experience. But the nitty gritty was, was there were many difficult moments, I almost quit the team before I even started because I had a very difficult interaction with some folks on the team. And that multiple times throughout the, you know, especially the first two years, there were runnings that were very painful for me. But each time there were guys on the team that showed up for me, and that’s what had me stay, because I realized that it wasn’t going to be perfect. Not everybody was going to be like trans athletes, you know, I’m going to get it. But if I had enough people in my corner that I could feel safe with that I didn’t need everybody to validate me, I just needed enough that I felt safe.

V Spehar  45:53

Were they setting any parameters for the amount of testosterone you were allowed to take to stay within a certain range that they might consider fair? Or did you not have to deal with too much of that?

Schuyler Bailar  46:04

Yeah, so at the time, and actually, this is still technically the NCAA rules that they’re following, even though they’ve updated the rules. The there was the NCAA policy for inclusion of transgender athletes, and for trans masculine athletes or athletes assigned female at birth, like me who identify as male, or want to compete in men’s category, the you have to basically prove that your testosterone levels are with a quote, average male level average cisgender male level. And or not take this optional, you could not take this off, and that’s fine. But if you choose to as I did, then you must be within it’s like 245 nanograms per deciliter up to like 900, and something or 1080, I can’t remember the upper limit, because I never got close to it. But it’s like the advocate average male range. And that’s it’s a very standardized range. If you are taking testosterone as a trans masculine person, you’re going to be like, required or recommended strongly to be within that range. Anyways, it’s like not that, you know, it’s not like a Whoa, you’re capping my testosterone.

V Spehar  47:03

WWE levels here, we’re not doing professional wrestling levels of steroids.

Schuyler Bailar  47:09

No steroids, it’s just a very average male range. It’s a pretty large range, like a 245, all the way up to 1000 or so. And then you have to stay within that. But it’s very easy to do that. Because again, we have our labs checked Anyways, if you’re a trans person taking testosterone, you, you get your labs checked. And I really like to reinforce this, I wasn’t taking testosterone for sports, I was taking testosterone because it was gender affirmation, and I happen to play sports. And I say that because my levels usually stayed between 245 and 512, sometimes went to 700. But that was only like very rarely. So my levels were quite low in the lower lower quartile, or lower 50%. For the most of the time of that range. People were like, especially my teammates were like, why would you could go higher? Why wouldn’t you shouldn’t.

V Spehar  48:01

Should max out, bro. We’re trying to win these races.

Schuyler Bailar  48:05

And I think there’s two really important points about why I didn’t one, I didn’t take testosterone for sports, I took it for gender affirmation, the levels that I took felt good to me, I feel good in my gender, and my presentation, and so on. And to perhaps something most people don’t know is that testosterone does not actually mitigate a lot of your athletic performance. People think that it does. But there’s actually some interesting studies that show if you, for example, a study that looked at a bunch of cisgender men, so not trans men, who are Olympians, and they looked at their athletic performance mapped on to their testosterone levels, and there was no correlation between their testosterone levels and athletic performance. So it’s really fascinating. We’ve chosen testosterone as the primary way to differentiate age sports, basically, from this sort of, quote, sex differentiation, when there’s a lot of other factors that impact sports. This could get really sciency. But I guess what I’m what I’m trying to say is that testosterone is not the only thing that impacts sports. Can it does it Yeah, in many ways, and in some sports, more so than others. But it is not the only factor. And in many studies that we already seen, it is actually not the primary mitigating factor to two different different sport performance.

V Spehar  49:08

Wow, that is something I’m learning just exactly right now, I mean, I’m not a sports girl.

Schuyler Bailar  49:14

Most people don’t know that most No, are fed the narrative that it’s just testosterone. And it’s fascinating that there’s more to it than that.

V Spehar  49:23

So now let’s talk about your new nonfiction book. He, she, they, how we talk about gender and why it matters. Why was it important for you to write this book right now?

Schuyler Bailar  49:34

There’s so much misinformation about trans people and about gender. And it’s not actually just about trans people. It’s the concept of gender. It’s the gender binary, it’s how gender impacts everybody, not just trans people. And the anti trans narrative and anti trans rhetoric coming from lots of different directions by the way, not just the far right, is really pervasive and it capitalizes on the good intention of people combined with their ignorance. And and if we can use that good intention and combine it with education and facts and research and science, I think the world could be a very different place. And so he she, they have we talked about gender and why it matters is the the intent is to give people that education, to give them that grounding in the conversation about gender to give them a context about gender, so that they can make more informed conclusions about us as trans people, but also about themselves. Because one of the things I’ve also found in the work that I’ve done, I’ve given almost 500 speeches and trainings to date to 1000s 10s of 1000s of people is that lots of cisgender straight white people who do not share any identities with me, they have humanity with me, they they vibe with me, they empathize with me. And the reason is because actually, we are humans too. And actually, gender affects everybody. And I know many, if not all, sis men that I know who felt not man enough, were quote, too feminine at some point. I know many sis women who have felt too masculine or not woman enough. And so when he realized that gender constrains all of us in the ways that gender sort of polices us now, we can recognize that trans liberation will help everybody.

V Spehar  51:07

I wish that people knew that trans ness is not a point A to point B thing. There are so many people, myself included in this who are on a gender journey, or we’re on one, I do feel like I’ve reached my final form now, where you’re going back and forth as to like, we’re what’s going to bring you the most comfort, when you look in the mirror, are you going to recognize yourself. And for some people, it’s just a hair cut. I remember when I got my hair cut, I was like, Oh, I look more like me. And that I grew my eyebrows and a little bit thicker, I look more like me. And then when I got top surgery, I was like, That’s it. This is me, this is who I am. And we don’t give it enough space in the public discussion for people who are going to stop to what somebody else might consider halfway or not all the way. There are a lot of people who don’t want surgery at all, there’s a lot of people who don’t want hormones at all. And I think if we could focus a little bit more on this broad spectrum of the way that people show up, and even straight people show up or sis people show up on the gender spectrum, to your point, we would have so much more humanity. What are some of the myths that you debunk in your book?

Schuyler Bailar  52:09

Yeah, well, quickly, I wanted to respond what you said though, this concept of trans is not being a journey, or it being a journey and not a from an A to. I always like to tell people people like to say, oh, Skyler, did you get like the transition? Are you going to do the full transition? And when they when they say that they’re really just asking me what’s in my pants right there. I know my genitals. But beyond that, what they’re implying is that there is this like this like package you can buy to like be fully transitioned and the reality that looks different for everybody. And you know, for me, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be fully transitioned, I hope to always be evolving into the truest form the most authentic, the most peaceful version of myself. And I actually think in many ways, that’s what gender affirmation is. And therefore anybody can have that right now, when we talk about it, we mean trans people, and gender diverse people, but but I think anybody can actually access self affirmation in many different facets. myths in the book. So you know, there I obviously talked about sport whelming. And obviously, but I talked about sports quite a bit. That’s a later chapter because it’s a it’s a heavy hitter. It’s a big topic. We talked about gender affirming healthcare, it starts with just asking, what is gender? And what is the history of how we have seen gender. It’s a brief history, because there’s a lot in the book, and I could write a whole book specifically just about what is gender and the history of it. But talking about sort of Euro colonial roots of the gender binary that we have today, the impact and the intersectional sort of history of gender as well. Goes through talking about what exactly gender affirming care is, because while so many people seem to be against it, and many people don’t know what it is talking about pronouns, of course, talking about the war on pronouns, as Tucker Carlson puts it, debunking this idea that trans people have chosen to be trans that it has anything to do with like beauty, for example. There’s a whole section which is just quick myths and facts about trans people as well. But the whole thing is really like debunking too many too many degrees. I talk a lot about masculinity as well as a trans man. Many people have questioned my masculinity, but I think I I think I and many other trans masculine folks, especially trans men have a really interesting and unique intentionality in our masculinity that I argue in the book that lots of people can learn from. So there’s a lot of things in there that I think most people are talking about. Most people are debating trans people, sports, trans people and healthcare trans people who are kids, trans people in bathrooms, that’s also in there trans people and disclosure, how much we talk about trans people and dating. So these are the topics that the book addresses, and again, with facts with research science, but most importantly with humanity.

V Spehar  54:42

When we talk about men, a lot of the times we are talking about toxic masculinity or you know the expectations of men in society of who they’re supposed to be in these ideals that no one can live up to. Do you think that toxic masculinity plays a role in the trans community as well as trans masculine community.

Schuyler Bailar  55:01

Absolutely. Yeah, you know, I think nobody is immune to perpetuating systemic oppression. Let me rephrase that nobody’s immune. Nobody, you know, cannot be involved in systemic oppression to some degree. Some people perpetually some people are affected by it, you have to have power to perpetuate systemic oppression. So that’s why I rephrased what I said. But I think we can all play a parts in, in these kinds of systems. And I think that one of the things personally that’s been a journey for me to understand is when I transitioned and began to be received as a man in the world, I began to be almost immediately received as a cisgender. Man, right, not as a trans man, but a sis man. And I used to think they were the same thing. I’m like, okay, great, I’m being affirmed. But I realized slowly, and then very quickly, that that meant that I was being aligned also with sis manhood and all the toxicity that a lot of non sis men expect from SIS men. And that was very dysregulated. Because I grew up being perceived as a woman fearing sis men the same way that most women do, and finding sort of home and other queer folks and other femme folks and other women. So it’s very jarring to then be perceived as an enemy of some kind or as not a teammate. And sometimes what happens in that space is that and and I’ve felt pressure in this way, is that trans men adopt toxic masculinity, they adopt the tools of the patriarchy in order to what to belong. And the reason that I am describing it this way is because I’ve absolutely felt the pressure to engage in toxic masculinity so that I can belong. And the reality though, is that still have all people they have, we’ve all felt this pressure to engage in some sort of toxicity, especially cisgender, straight men. To Belong, the goal is to belong. And I think if we, if we can’t, if we can’t see that we lose everybody’s humanity. And I do think that’s an issue in our society right now with how we are viewing sis men especially, is they have actually discarded their own humanity first, and then they attack the humanity of other people, but they do so from a place of having already discarded their own and not always with their own agency. They’ve been it’s been beaten out of them from the time their kids, right, be a man grow up, don’t be many other words, I don’t care to repeat. And that has broken my heart because I’ve seen it as now somebody who’s welcomed into sis men spaces and welcomed as a sis man, even though I’m not. I’ve seen how toxic those spaces and I’ve seen the pain in the eyes of my friends, the eyes of other men, and they’re looking for belonging. They’re looking in me and in other men for a ticket to say, hey, you can be here too. And I want other men to learn that they don’t have to do that through toxicity. Because actually, if you get them alone, they don’t want to do it. It doesn’t feel good. But it is a whole this whole topic. So I’ll stop there.

V Spehar  57:56

A week or so ago, we had on Trey Val Anderson, who I just adore a journalist, and Trans activist. And they were talking about possibility models and how for folks who are, you know, our age, and I’m much older than you, we didn’t really have that many possibility models. I mean, I had my mom’s gay guy friends, which is why I’m kind of a gay guy. And I wanted to just that look like a Ken doll. Because that was all I really knew when it came to like having possibility models was was gay guys and musical theater and candles, who were some possibility models for you as a young person?

Schuyler Bailar  58:35

The answer I usually come to with my parents, because I felt very cared for by my parents and seen by my parents, of course, we had our issues, but they were very good at seeing letting me be me in many ways, and I deeply respected and respect both my parents and I think my parents did a good job not making me want to emulate people’s looks and their exteriors. So I grew up like wanting to be curious, like my dad, and interested like my dad and I mean those those like character traits. He’s so curious. He’s so interested in the whole world. And I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be resourceful like Kevin, say, with my mom, she’s like, she’s an amazing writer. And she’s such such good attention to detail. She’s, she’s clean, she’s, like, really organized. And, and I wanted to be just like both my parents in that way, but it wasn’t in a way that I saw physically, myself. And I think in many ways, that was good. That was life saving, actually, because the the lack of focus on my, the way I looked from my parents was helpful because people didn’t look the way that I looked as both a mixed race kid as a queer kid and as a trans kid. I had very few possibility models, any of that athlete on to that there was there was nobody. And I think that was what was the most painful when I started wrestling with my physical presence. My identity. personhood was I didn’t see myself not only did I not see myself in my peers or Like you said, possibility molars, I didn’t see myself in the future. And when that started disappearing, when I started looking up as I, as I got older and trying to look into my future and not seeing it, that was where the mental health really started to deteriorate. These days, I see possibility models in everybody and I and I like to take little pieces of everybody I meet and hold the parts of them that I want to emulate that I want to be like. And I think that’s a beautiful way to live. And that’s how I want to live. But I also think that that there, there was this deep emptiness of possibility models, probably from the age of 13, or 14 until maybe 23, or 24, when I discovered how to find different types of possibility that were really painful, and really lonely. And really scary, because I often concluded that because I didn’t see people like me, trans people, mixed race people, queer people, athletes, that had all of those identities, I thought I couldn’t stay. And there was a lot of times where I didn’t know how to stay, because I didn’t see other people like me staying.

V Spehar  1:01:04

I know there are a lot of young people who now see you as a possibility model and follow your work and reach out to you. How do you handle that?

Schuyler Bailar  1:01:16

It gives me a lot of emotions. I feel honored that, that I could be a possibility model for somebody else. I feel privileged to be able to be here as well. Because I know that I know that many of the reasons that I’m able to be here and not only because of my work and my perseverance, there were the privileges that I’ve had therapy, healthcare, supportive parents financial access. And I feel grief, I think I feel a lot of grief because it’s, I get many messages from kids that say, you know, I read your story. And, and because I knew you existed, I decided to stay. And that makes me so happy that they decided to stay and then immediately so sad that they were they were gonna choose not to write that there was a possibility they wouldn’t have stayed. And I can’t I really can’t count how many times people have said something like that to me. In one way or another and every time it makes me want to cry to ball and I really don’t know, I actually cried if I would ever stop because I think that is a deep well of grief that is that I think maybe it’s generational that it’s like I’ve like took it on. I know lots of other queer people that feel this way. Maybe it’s like, you know, communal grief. I don’t know collective grief, but it feels so much bigger than that one moment. And I think I think the concept of possibility models to me brings grief not only because of my history, but also because right now there’s such a dearth of of those possibility models. And anti trans rhetoric wants to continue to take that away.

V Spehar  1:02:56

And it is so important. I remember when I entered my queer Auntie era, right about the time I turned right about 3839, I was like, Oh, I’m no longer having the responsibility of being like the Big Brother, Big Sister, big sibling to someone where you’re that close to their journey, because you’re still on your own. But you sort of cross over into Auntie territory. Do you look forward to crossing over into fun uncle territory? Because you’re very close right now? To the US?

Schuyler Bailar  1:03:22

Yeah, yeah, you know, I think I think I am, I have begun to be able to connect. That’s x. Thank you for reminding me of that. I’ve begun to connect with more trans folks who are that right, the fun uncle. And, and they were there when I was younger, but I didn’t know that. And I think one of the tricks of you know, the systems of oppression is it doesn’t make it easy for us to connect with each other. And so only now at the sort of like, I want to say level of notoriety, if you will, that I am at end groundedness that I can now use to connect with other people. I have connected with so many more trans people who are older than me. I love it, I adore it. Because I did not see trans adults. And now I get to not only see them, but I get to be friends with them. I get to have mentorship by them, I get to have you know, I get to confide in them. And that is so healing for me. So I am excited for that. But but I’m in no rush to get there. I am very eager to be in a place right now where I get to mentor young people and people actually who are older than me, but at the same time I’m also in a place where I can still like look for mentorship from people that are older than me and I need it and I want it and I it’s something that I think I’ve been missing for a long time and that’s that kind of goes back to your possibility model question.

V Spehar  1:04:44

It is nice to have this more solid line even though we are under attack of people who are handing that bucket of water to the fire right like we’re not as separate as we used to be. We’ve got a pretty good rescue line going there are people who are younger, teenage, early 20s 30s 40s up to my pals who are like 80 or 90 years old, I just got to see a Mandela poor last week. And I was like, completely overwhelmed by the iconic legacy that she is and all the history that she holds in her body. And like it, as much as it’s a scary time for trans people. It is such a good time for trans community to be finding each other, seeing each other and recognizing that there is a beginning a middle and a very far away, and to a long journey and joyful trans experience. You talk a lot about collective liberation and bringing about this this collective liberation. Can you tell folks what that means to you?

Schuyler Bailar  1:05:39

Yeah, when I use it, I’ve started using it more recently, because I realized that I was talking about trans rights, it just didn’t feel comprehensive at all, especially given the amount of of intersectionality that I think if you zoom out and don’t just see, you know, the sports conversation or the healthcare conversation, you’re also seeing, you know, bands on critical race theory, bans on Black History Month bounds on or restrictions on voter chips, specifically targeting black and brown voters, like, you know, the dogs decision. If we look outside of the trans community, there’s actually a whole lot of attacks, horrible attacks on pretty much anybody who’s not a cisgender. White man, right. And when we recognize that we recognize that this isn’t just a fight for trans rights, it’s a fight for collective liberation for all of our rights. And I do believe that includes cisgender white men, by the way, now, it does require that they relinquish some of their power, and they don’t want to do that. And it’s scary to do that. But I do think that liberation also will liberate them from the very narrow box of masculinity that they have been chained by, of a whiteness, right, the amount of humanity you have to actually shed you have to like get rid of your own humanity to participate in white supremacy. So I think that it is collective liberation when we are moving away from these systems of oppression. Because when we oppress others, I think we lose our own humanity too.

V Spehar  1:07:00

your soul, right? When you say that, so often I’ll some of my male audience will be like, I don’t feel like I actually have any power. I’m still living paycheck to paycheck. I’m not that handsome. Maybe I didn’t have an easy time in my life. I have struggles too, and they feel left out of the conversation. And to your point, yes, white supremacy will do that to all of us. It’s what is that thing they call it where the snake eats its own head over and over and over him?

Schuyler Bailar  1:07:23

I don’t know what it’s called. But it’s exactly the picture that was in my head to it eats itself first.

V Spehar  1:07:27

I don’t know if we’re, we’re not using big words on the show. We’re having a nice. What do you hope people take away from your book and your work?

Schuyler Bailar  1:07:36

I mean, I really hope that people have a moment to sink into their own humanity. I think that when, like I just said, when we oppress others, we lose our own humanity. And the first, the first step of walking into collective liberation is looking at how you’re not liberated, right? You yourself, and what ways have you stopped yourself from being yourself and then you can, you can kind of translate outwards because the people that I think are often the most transphobic the most racist the most ablest the most continuing naming bigotry are often the, the people that have the most rigid walls for themselves, right? And there’s some like no secrets about it, people come up to me and be like, Whoa, like, you know, you can’t just be a man Schuyler, like, you know, then I could just do this. And I’m like, Yeah, you could just do that. That’s fine. Like you absolutely could, but they don’t allow themselves that freedom. And then they hurt other people who exhibit having that freedom. So I think that what I hope people take away from my book A is a kind of facts and research and groundedness and the conversation about gender, but but but perhaps more importantly, their own humanity so that they can then start seeing the humanity of other people too.

V Spehar  1:08:46

I’m gonna tell you, anytime I get a question about something in the future, I’m going to be like, let me direct you to a new nonfiction books. He, she, they, how he talked about gender and why it matters. It’s such a great resource to folks who are curious to your point, folks who want to just educate themselves and the community in general to have this shield that we can put up and say like, well, here’s what the answer is because so often as queer and marginalized people, we spend so much of our time exhausted trying to come up with explanations that will make sense to people who aren’t having a good faith argument with us. Just read the book, and parrot back the statements give yourself rest and relaxation. Let Schuyler just put the words in your mouth and move on through your day, and it’ll be a lot easier. The name of the book again, is he she they how we talk about gender and why it matters. Skyler tell folks where they can find you on your social medias and where they can buy the book.

Schuyler Bailar  1:09:38

Yeah, thank you so much. For all those kind words about my work. The book will be out October 17. So 1017 this fall. You can find it anywhere you buy books, I encourage you to buy it from a local indie bookstore. If you buy it from all she wrote up here in Boston, which is where I live then you can get a signed copy. I’ll be signing copies this fall. So you can just go to a GST, so he she the HST book.com. And there’s a link there to, to buy it anywhere, but you can buy it to get that signed copy as well. My socials are at pink mantaray so pink is like the color and then mantaray like the animal pretty much everywhere except on Twitter, because somebody will not give up their pink runaway tag on Twitter. So it’s SB underscore pig commanderie Yeah, thank you so much for you. I really appreciate the space.

V Spehar  1:10:37

Thank you so much to Schuyler, what an inspiration and he just makes things so easy to understand. I mean, I hope you all especially heard the bit about how trans girls are not these hulking, Alpha men trying to steal trophies from little girls. They’re just little girls, who before this generation of more supportive parents would have maybe been called something like too effeminate or not tough enough, these would have been the little boys who got teased for being gay or something, right? Well, now they get to just be who they are, which is little girls. And if this it’s not fair to kids that like some trans kid might be too big and might hurt other kids was the real motivation behind all the hate for trans kids. That side wouldn’t be rooting for baby grunk. Okay, you can’t say that trans girls are dangerous to girls, and then also be rooting for baby grunk, the massive 10 year old boy who was already being offered NFL contracts who was playing against other little tiny 10 year old boys. I mean, baby Gronk might actually be dangerous, okay, but we love him too. And we’re rooting for him too. Because these are just kids. Just Kids want to play sports with their friends and have a good time. And they don’t need adults getting involved and trying to make them feel bad about the people they are and the way they want to show them play. let kids play right let kids be kids. Is that what they say? Make sure this October you’re on the lookout for schuyler’s new book. And in the meantime, be sure to tune into next week’s episode where we dig into the headlines you might have missed. Please leave us a five star rating on whatever platform you’re listening on. It really does help people find the show. Follow me at under the desk news on tick tock, Instagram, YouTube, and now on Patreon Yaya, and guess what friends there’s even more be interesting with limonada premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content, like Montana State Representative Zooey Zephyr and journalist Erin Reed on who’s the better cook in their relationship and whether Zoey plans to run for higher office. Subscribe now and Apple podcasts.

V Spehar  1:12:34

V Interesting is a Lemonada Media Original. Our producers are Kryssy Pease, Kathryn Barnes and Martin Macias. Our VP of weekly programming is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittles Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Mix and scoring is by James Farber. Music by Seth Applebaum. Please help others find the show by reading and reviewing wherever you listen and follow us across all social platforms at @VitusSpehar, @underthedesknews and @LemonadaMedia. If you want more V Interesting. Subscribe to Lemonada Premium only on Apple podcasts and follow the show where ever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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