Two Transgender Athletes Competing At Brandeis University This Year

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Are there transgender athletes playing competitive sports in Massachusetts?


It’s unclear how many — if any — compete at the high school level. However, at Brandeis University, there are two openly-transgender athletes.

One is Jac Guerra, a member of the men’s cross country and track and field teams. The other is Alexander Wicken, a member of the women’s fencing team.

Both athletes are biologically female but identify as transgender men. 

Initially, Guerra, who has identified as a man since before entering college, competed as a member of the women’s cross country and track and field teams as a freshman and sophomore. However, Guerra decided in February 2020 to begin the process of switching over from the women’s teams to the men’s teams, according to The Justice, the student newspaper at Brandeis University.

“Transitioning while being a student athlete was intense in terms of figuring out how to make sure everything I have been doing is allowed in the eyes of the NCAA,” Guerra told The Justice.

Now a senior, Guerra captains both the men’s cross country team and the track and field team. Guerra is an above-average NCAA Division 3 runner. In cross country this past fall, Guerra earned a 95th place finish out of 234 competitors in the NCAA Division 3 East Region Championship meet on November 13, 2021 (29:01).

Wicken, a junior, has been a member of the women’s team for each of the past three seasons. Wicken came out as transgender in high school. 

Although Wicken identifies as male, the fencer was given a choice of which team to compete on at Brandeis.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s official policy allows for flexibility. Under NCAA policy, a biological female may compete on either a men’s team or a women’s team, provided that the athlete is not taking transitioning hormones. If the athlete is taking hormones meant to assist physical transitioning to a masculine identity, then the athlete cannot compete on the women’s team.

Here is what the NCAA’s policy says on the matter (where “FTM” stands for “female-to-male”) and “MTF” stands for “male-to-female”):


Trans student-athletes who are not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate in sex-separated sports activities in accordance with their sex assigned at birth.

• A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who is not taking testosterone related to gender transition may participate on a men’s or women’s team.

• A trans female (MTF) student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatments related to gender transition may not compete on a women’s team.


A junior this season, Wicken competed in fencing as a foil. Wicken went 15-45 in 60 matches this school year. 

Wicken is an advocate for transgender rights and wants to create a greater acceptance of transgender people.

“I think a meaningful way to deal with gender discrimination is [through] education,” Wicken told The Justice. “Specifically gender discrimination regarding trans people …  you can always learn more … that, ‘Oh, these are just human beings living their lives.’ ”

Brandeis is a private university in Waltham, Massachusetts that has about 3,600 students. It is an NCAA Division 3 school.

A spokesman for Brandeis told NewBostonPost in an email message:  “Brandeis takes its NCAA compliance seriously, and department staff and student-athletes consistently maintain compliance with NCAA bylaws, including those related to medical exceptions.”

The two athletes are not the first openly transgender college athletes to compete in the Commonwealth. 

Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts) (NCAA Division 1) and Endicott College (Beverly, Massachusetts) (NCAA Division 3) each had one before Brandeis. In both instances, they were biological females who identify as transgender men.

Schuyler Bailar identifies as transgender man. Bailar was a member of the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team from 2015 to 2019. Bailar’s career was the first known instance of a transgender man competing in an NCAA Division 1 sport.

Initially, Bailar was offered a spot on the Harvard women’s swimming and diving team but stopped identifying as a woman during a gap year before going to Harvard. As a result, men’s coach Kevin Tyrrell offered Bailar a spot on his team.

Bailar developed into an above-average NCAA Division 1 men’s swimmer; Bailar’s best 110-yard breaststroke as a senior (2018-2019) ranked in the top 15 percent of all NCAA men’s competitors that season.

At Endicott, Ryan Socolow was a member of the women’s lacrosse team for four years. Socolow started identifying as a man in June 2013 — after lacrosse season ended. However, as a senior in 2014, Socolow identified as a man but was not yet taking male hormones. Socolow shined in net for Endicott, helping the team to a 14-4 season. Socolow was also sharp in net the season before, helping the team to a 13-8 record

There are no confirmed instances of biological males who identity as women competing on women’s college sports teams in Massachusetts. 


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