American swimmer Schuyler Bailar will be the speaker for the University Housing Services LGBTQA Cultural Dinner at 5 p.m. Friday, September 20, in Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Uptown Normal.

A recent graduate of Harvard University, Bailar is the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer, and the first publicly documented NCAA D1 transgender man to compete as a man in any sport.

Cultural Dinners at Illinois State University serve to celebrate and educate. Dinner guests will enjoy a meal catered by the Bloomington/Normal Marriott featuring a variety of Korean cuisines.  Tickets for the dinner are available here for $20, or meal plan holders may use a meal swipe to make a reservation in exchange for one meal. Tickets will be available online until September 13 or until sold out.  Tickets will not be sold at the door.

A special thank you to the following campus partners that will assist in the planning and implementation of this event: Event Management, Dining and Hospitality, Association of Residence Halls, Tri-Towers Area Government, and Tri-Towers Diversity Coalition.

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Having lived on the margin as a “Woman, Korean American, Gay, Trans” and now often perceived as a privileged elite “Harvard white guy” Schuyler’s inspiring story is filled with unique and insightful perspectives.  Schuyler will engage the group in an energetic conversation on topics ranging from his personal journey of coming out trans as a D1 athlete, finding joy in being your best you, the spectrum of masculinity, competing at elite levels as an LGBTQ athlete, empowering youth through social emotional learning, the role of disordered eating, self-harm and therapy in his journey, and activism in our current political landscape.

Bailar was one of the nation’s top 20 15-year-old breaststroke swimmers. By 17, his relay team set a national age group record. A 25-time National Championship Qualifier, a two-time All-American, he swims for Harvard University. Schuyler is also the first openly transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division I men’s team. Schuyler’s difficult choice – to transition while potentially giving up the prospect of being an NCAA Champion – as a female swimmer – was historic and timely. His story has appeared everywhere from The Washington Post to 60 Minutes and The Ellen Show.

For more details about the event, visit

The Illinois State University Speaker Series seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process. All talks are free and open to the public.