A Texas teenager has taken a bold step in declaring his gender identity while simultaneously competing in the sport he loves, against athletes of his gender at birth.
As reported by the Dallas Morning News, Euless Trinity student Mack Beggs, 17, captured the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 6A Region II girls wrestling title in controversial circumstances when Coppell’s Madeline Rocha forfeited the final.
Beggs was competing in the event while undergoing testosterone treatment as he transitions from female to male. He has previously competed against multiple Coppell wrestlers, but was the subject of a lawsuit brought by a Coppell wrestling parent less than two weeks before the meet alleging a risk of bodily harm because of Beggs use of testosterone. The lawsuit urged the UIL to suspend Beggs because of the testosterone.
Jim Baudhuin, the parent who brought the suit against the UIL, said the suit has nothing to do with Beggs being a transgender male.
“I respect that completely, and I think the coaches do,” he said. “All we’re saying is she is taking something that gives her an unfair advantage. It’s documented. It’s universal that it’s an unfair advantage.” Note that Baudhuin’s daughter is not in the same weight class as Beggs and would not have faced him.
Beggs would rather wrestle against boys but is not allowed to because of a pair of UIL regulations, one of which demands that teens wrestle in the gender class identified on their birth certificate. That meant Beggs would have to continue competing as a girl, which also requires verification of medical records to ensure the safe administration of a prescribed steroid. Beggs received that both before and during the 2015-16 season.
UIL regulations also prevent from boys from wrestling girls and girls from wrestling boys.
“Today was not about their students winning,” Nancy Beggs, Mack Beggs’ grandmother and guardian, told the Morning News. “Today was about bias, hatred and ignorance.”
Two wrestlers forfeited against Beggs in the regional tournament. One — Rocha — could still face him again as the two both qualified for the state meet via their top-four finishes at the regional meet.
Needless to say, that would make for an interesting litmus test in moral code vs. practical impact, all in front of a backdrop of UIL bylaws and regulations that forced the situation to come to pass in the first place.