Transgender wrestler competes for state high school championship
A transgender wrestler is competing in the state high school championship tournament in Houston.
Mack Beggs, a 17-year-old student at Euless Trinity High School, was born a girl but identifies as a boy. He won his match in the first round of the tournament Friday.
"All the hard work I've put in for the past three years, it comes down to this day and tomorrow," he posted on Facebook.
Under University Interscholastic League rules, he must wrestle against girls even though he's taking testosterone for his transition and would prefer to compete against other boys. UIL says his testosterone use is acceptable because it's prescribed by a doctor.
An attorney for another wrestlers' parents filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the UIL to keep Beggs from wrestling girls. The other parents feel allowing him to compete is unfair and unsafe.
"At least if Mack wants to compete against the boys, she's doing it knowingly and willingly," attorney Jim Baudhuin said. "The other girls in the bracket don't have that choice. They show up to the girls' competition, and there is somebody who is not really a girl -- not really a boy yet -- but who is closer to the boys than the girls."
The lawsuit will not impact the tournament.
Taylor Latham was Beggs' first-round opponent. But her mother wanted her to forfeit because of Beggs' steroid use.
"I'm a protective mom. But she's a fighter. She's not a quitter. She's a senior. She's fought for the last three years to get here and she was going to see it through even though I wasn't sharing the same opinion," Lisa Latham said. "The kid's full of testosterone. Who's monitoring the levels that are surging through his body? I think UIL needs to get with the times."
But is Beggs' case a game changer? Should a girl who identifies as a boy be allowed to wrestle boys? A statement from UIL says, in part, its rules help "ensure a fair competition".
"Giving the overwhelming support for that rule, I don't expect it to change," explained UIL Deputy Executive Director Jamey Harrison.
"It's not fair for that individual that wants to transition and wrestle boys," Lisa said. "And it's not fair for the female wrestlers for this unfair advantage."
Beggs is waiting until the tournament is over to tell his story to media. His mother said despite all the attention, he's in good spirits. And to some of the wrestlers at the tournament, it wasn't a big deal.
"Before high school, girls and boys wrestled together," said student Will Villegas. "So it doesn't really bother me."
"If she thinks she's able to compete with the boys, then she should be able to compete with the boys," said student Justine Jayne.