After being barred by state rules from competing in the boys league, a 17-year-old transgender teenage boy won the Texas State Girls Wrestling Championship.
His name is Mack Beggs and he just wants to wrestle, but because Texas rules state that students must compete as the gender listed on their birth certificate, he was forced to compete in the girls tournament. Beggs’ participation has sparked complaints from the parents of the cisgender female wrestlers and even a lawsuit. He has stated repeatedly that he would rather participate in the boys events. The suit filed against the league by one of the parents makes the claim that because Beggs identifies as male, he should be competing in the boys tournament.
In 2016, 95 percent of Texas superintendents voted in favor an amendment to the constitution of the University Interscholastic League, which forced Texas student athletes to adhere to the birth certificate rules. At the time, opponents of the amendment warned that it would discriminate against transgender students who were unable to afford the process involved with changing a gender marker in the state. In many cases, petitions are denied depending on the judge who is reviewing them.
“I feel so sick and disgusted by the discrimination not by the kids, (but)the PARENTS AND COACHES.”
Beggs, who says he is not looking for publicity, blames the parents and coaches for making a spectacle of the issue, not the kids. “The thing is, we want to wrestle each other. I feel so sick and disgusted by the discrimination not by the kids, the PARENTS AND COACHES,” Beggs wrote on Facebook. “These kids don’t care who you put in front of them to wrestle. We just want to WRESTLE. THEY are taking that away from me and from the people I’m competing with.”
The timing of recent news regarding the Trump administration rescinding transgender protections in schools and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s proposed SB6 bathroom law have magnified the issue. When Beggs finishes a match, it is usually ends with a chorus of both boos and cheers from the audience, as many are still divided on where Beggs should be allowed to compete. Attorney Jim Baudhuin, a parent of one of the female wrestlers, tried and failed to get injunctions preventing Beggs from competing in the girls division citing his use of testosterone. Baudhuin does not fault Beggs for the problem however, he blames the UIL. “The more I learn about this, the more I realize that she’s just trying to live her life and her family is, too,” Baudhuin said as he misgendered Beggs. “She’s being forced into that position. Who knows, through discovery we may find out that’s not the case. But every indication is, the way the winds are going now, the blame rests with the UIL and the superintendents.”
Beggs finished the year undefeated at 57-0 in the 110 pound weight class. He spoke after the event stating that all of the attention should have been about his team. “I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my teammates,” Beggs said. “That’s honestly what the spotlight should have been on, is my teammates. … we trained hard every single day.”