Making history and sparking controversy this weekend, a transgender boy from Trinity High School in Euless won the girls state wrestling championship for the first time.
Mack Beggs, who began transitioning from female to male two years ago and takes testosterone injections, went undefeated against girls all season before winning gold in the Class 6A 110-pound bracket. Despite his own objections, the junior was forced to compete against girls because of a rule passed last year by the University Interscholastic League, which regulates high school sports. Under UIL's rules, transgender students must compete based on the gender on their birth certificate.
Amid heated debates across the country about which bathrooms transgender people should be allowed to use, Beggs's participation in the girls championship this weekend became a national story, with parents of his competitors complaining to the Washington Post that Beggs had an unfair advantage over their daughters. Yet it is an advantage that UIL's rules also allow for, given the hormones are administered by a physician for medical reasons. Some of the girls forfeited. One dad even filed a lawsuit, trying to block Beggs from competing with girls at the last minute. Still, he admitted he was rooting for Beggs anyway — a friend of his daughter's.
“The 16 girls who are in [Beggs’s] bracket have been put in a very, very unfair situation because of the grown-ups,” the dad and attorney, Jim Baudhuin, told the Washington Post. “To me, this is a complete abject failure of leadership and accountability from the people who regulate sports in Texas. They’re doing wrong by Mack, and not just these 15 girls but all the other girls she wrestled all year.”
In a statement Friday, the UIL said it's possible the rule requiring athletes to compete according to the gender on their birth certificate could change in the future.
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That rule was voted on by representatives from all Texas school districts, passing 586 to 32 and going into effect last August. According to the Post, Beggs began taking testosterone in 2015, and as time went on, began requesting to compete against boys. UIL denied his request before the season last year—despite the fact that Beggs had the support of would-be male teammates; reactions from parents and coaches were mixed, the Post reported.
As Beggs wrote on Facebook: “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. 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.”
At the time the rule was passed, UIL would not comment to the Houston Press about the rationale behind it. As trans-athlete advocates told us, presumably, the high school athletics officials believed the rule would protect against transgender girls who were transitioning from being males dominating girls’ sports and having far superior strength and ability.
Surely, the irony isn't lost on them now.