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Mack Beggs

I guarantee, we have never paid as much attention to the Texas high school wrestling championships as we did this past weekend.

If the fervor over Euless Trinity transgender wrestler Mack Beggs during the last week could be swelled into one match, it was the junior’s final one at the state wrestling championships on Saturday.

Beggs, who is transitioning from female to male but competing as a girl because of a University Interscholastic League rule, won gold in the Class 6A 110-pound bracket after a 12-2 major decision win over Morton Ranch’s Chelsea Sanchez on Saturday at the Berry Center.

It caps a perfect season for Beggs (56-0), who easily won his four matches this weekend. Beggs defeated Clear Springs’ Taylor Latham in the first round by major decision, 18-7, and Tascosa’s Mya Engert by major decision, 12-4, in the quarterfinals Friday.

His semifinal win came against Grand Prairie’s Kailyn Clay via pin earlier Saturday.

The controversy surrounding Beggs deals with the testosterone treatments part of his transition, with some believing it is an unfair advantage although it is allowed by the UIL because it is administered by a physician and for medical reasons. Beggs also has been denied the request to compete in the boys division because of a new UIL rule that states athletes must compete under the gender on their birth certificate.

Beggs competed in the previous two state tournaments but he become a national story after two opponents forfeited their match against him at regionals last week.

After Saturday’s events, Beggs gave a statement to the media, deferring attention to his teammates.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my teammates,” Beggs said. “That’s honestly what the spotlight should’ve been on is my teammates. The hard work that I put in the practice room with them beside me, we trained hard every single day. That’s where the spotlight should’ve been on. Not me. All these guys. Because I would not be here without them.”

ESPN, Reuters, and the Washington Post (mirrored at the Texas Tribune) were among those covering the event. Here’s an earlier story in the Chron with some more details.

Beggs, 17, a junior at Euless’ Trinity High School, is transitioning from female to male, and because his birth certificate designates him as female, he was required under Texas high school regulations to compete against girls at the state meet here Friday and Saturday.

It’s a rule that represents a sharp departure from anything on the national or international level, and it’s not likely to go away. And so, as a senior in 2018, Beggs – and any other transgender athlete – is likely to face questions again about why a boy is competing against girls.

“Given the overwhelming support for that (birth certificate) rule, I don’t expect it to change anytime soon,” said Jamey Harrison, the deputy executive director for the University Interscholastic League, which governs high school competitions in Texas.

“Those decisions are made by our elective body who makes our rules. Again, they spoke. … These were superintendents who are members of the UIL. Ninety-five percent of them voted for the rule as is.”

Texas is one of seven states that require high school students to provide a birth certificate, proof of gender-reassignment surgery or documentation of hormone therapy, according to TransAthlete.com.

League officials said the UIL “strives to provide fair and equitable competitions for all students.” Harrison said the UIL is “following both what our legislative council wants to follow and certainly what the overwhelming majority of our school membership wants to follow.”

Harrison, while not mentioning Beggs by name, said Saturday night that the UIL stands by its birth certificate rule. However, he said the agency hopes to obtain legislative support that would allow it more leeway to police student-athletes who are using performance-enhancing drugs under a doctor’s care.

“The real issue here is the use of performance enhancing drugs,” Harrison said. “The UIL does not have the authority to tell a student they are ineligible if they are using a performance-enhancing drug under the supervision of a doctor, as written in state law. We look forward to working with lawmakers to fix that law.”

Harrison said he hopes the Legislature will help the UIL reach a better description of what constitutes a “valid medical reason” to use banned substances.

“Something that would be a little more proscriptive in what that means is something that I think that lawmakers will review, and we will be happy to work with lawmakers,” he said. “This is not about our birth certificate rule. This is about performance enhancing drug use.”

Others outside the UIL disagree, however. North Texas attorney and wrestling parent Jim Baudhuin earlier this month filed suit against the UIL, saying that the rule is nonsensical and that Beggs should be allowed to compete against boys.

“The NCAA has shown what should be done,” Baudhuin said. “The NCAA’s policy is that if you are transitioning from woman to man, once you take those injections, you close the door on competing against women and can compete against men. I think that is eminently fair.”

Similarly to the NCAA rule, which was enacted in 2011, the International Olympic Committee last year said that transgender athletes who are transitioning from female to male could compete in men’s events without restrictions.

The UIL is wrong about this. Mack Beggs and the girls he has to compete against are not being well served by the birth certificate requirement. Mack Beggs is a boy. He was not born one, but he is one now. Not recognizing that and not accommodating that serves no one well. It’s way past time the UIL understood that.

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24 Comments

  1. Paul A Kubosh says:

    “The UIL is wrong about this.”

    AGREED

    “Mack Beggs and the girls he has to compete against are not being well served by the birth certificate requirement.”

    AGREED

    “Mack Beggs is a boy. He was not born one, but he is one now.”

    SHE IS NOT A BOY BUT SHE IS LIVING AS IF SHE WAS A BOY.

    Not recognizing that and not accommodating that serves no one well.

    AGREED

    It’s way past time the UIL understood that.

    AGREED

    See when it comes to the transgender issue we do agree on some points. I am just waiting on Bill to jump in.

  2. Greg Wythe says:

    One neglected part of this story: TRINITY HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING RULES!

    Could. Not. Resist.

  3. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    First of all congrats to Mack, and to all those who might want to criticize him for competing…I say this…”if you’re demeaning a kid for participating in high school sports, you’re doing it wrong”.

    Lets not pretend what’s going on here. Texas wants Trans people to be marginalized and demeaned. The UIL put this rule in place as an attempt to discourage participation by Trans kids. Basically make Trans people be ‘invisible’ to compete. It backfired spectacularly. Good for him for telling the UIL…”screw you, I’m going to compete anyway, and face the abuse and misgendering from so-called adults, and others to do so”. Brave kid. But to those who wish to misgender him, you’re little better than those who booed him.

    Texas spends millions and millions of dollars on physical contact sports. They argue that participation in those sports provides a benefit to those participating. I fully expect some attempt to ban Trans kids, who dare to be visibly Trans, from competing at all. Telling Trans kids you can only compete, if you don’t transition….its the same as saying “Trans kids cannot compete”. And just because its a ‘physical contact sport’ doesn’t mean that you exclude the Trans kids from it.

    Texas should recognize Trans people as the gender they have transitioned to, or are in the process of transitioning to under the care of a licensed professional. And protect them from the very real attempts to discriminate against them, marginalize them, and block them from taxpayer supported benefits. But there’s lots of political capital to be made by scapegoating Trans persons. At least for now.

  4. General Grant says:

    Gender segregated sports exist, rightfully so, so that girls can compete despite the fact that on the whole boys will dominate any open competitions.

    So, why not just make “boys” sports an open division for anybody who wants to play, Mack Beggs, similarly situated people, girls that happen to be really good, whoever wants to?

    This does not dispose of the issue entirely, particularly the issue with transgendered girls in athletics, but it would solve the Mack Beggs conundrum without anybody having to even touch the transgendered issue politically.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Well, the whole thing is just a gigantic cluster#$%^. Personally, I’d say the UIL made the right call. if Mack can be “grabbed by the @#$$%,” then Mack needs to wrestle and shower with the girls, until she doesn’t have one to grab anymore. I feel bad for the other girls that had to compete against a student who was pumped full of testosterone and steroids, but hey, they learn a valuable life lesson too…..that life isn’t always fair. It reminds me of when our Olympians had to compete against the East German women’s team.

    Fortunately, this kind of thing is rare, so it happened, it is what it is, and everybody moves on. On the plus side, I don’t think this would even be an issue for a boy who thinks he is a girl.

  6. Paul Kubosh says:

    The people I feel sad for is all the girls who trained without the use of steroids. Where are all the prochoice left wing women’s rights progressives fighting for those girls?

  7. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Why not let those of us in the Progressive movement speak for ourselves.

    I think the vast majority of Progressives know that the problem are the Transphobes at the UIL, who put in place a stupid rule, because they will not even consider recognizing Trans anything. No accommodation appears is too small for them to callously deny it to Trans persons. Even a friggin’ pronoun.

    The taxpayers of Texas spend millions and millions of dollars on high school athletics and contact sports. They justify this expense by extolling the benefits of participation. But you and I both know that the intent is to try and deny Trans kids, who dare to exist as Trans kids (and yes, they need to be on some hormones), any benefit from those millions of taxpayer dollars.

    There is a solution. Stop misgendering. Allow a Transitioning to male person compete with the boys. Let a transitioning to female compete with the women. If you enact any bans on participation while taking certain doctor prescribed drugs/treatments, then they should allow for Transition to take place AND team competition in contact sports (which are the popular ones and the ones that get most of the funding).

    This is all on the UIL and those who misgender. Full stop. Had the UIL not been so zealous to refuse to recognize Trans kids for who they are, no woman would have had any issue.

  8. Joel says:

    all the above nonsense aside:

    “It’s way past time the UIL understood that.”

    the UIL is not some cloistered entity of “them.” it is superintendents. from school districts. our school districts. being hired by school boards. school boards that are probably elected. by us.

    this is a not an “us v. them” problem. the problem is us.

  9. General Grant says:

    Paul, I think in this instance the left wing people you speak of would generally prefer him competing with the boys. If the other girls are being harmed, it’s by the right.

  10. Paul Kubosh says:

    I never said she was being harmed by the left or the right. I am just pointing out how the left isn’t worried about all of the non-testorone girls who had to compete against the girl pumped full of testosterone.

    Now of course if all those (minor) girls wanted to have an abortion they would be marching in the street for them to have abortions without their parents knowing.

    Personally I don’t think she should have been competing at all but if allowed to compete then compete with boys.

    In a side note was she involved in wrestling before she started taking testosterone?

  11. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Paul, People on the “Left” of what?

    Why not trust Jesus to judge?

    If abortion is so wrong, why not go to war with any nation that allows it?

    Why would a man care what a woman did with her body?

    In fact Paul, I don’t believe that abortion is mentioned in the bible. But divorce is mentioned, wonder how many against women’s choice are divorced? So which is worse divorce which is a no no according to Jesus or abortion which he did not mention?

  12. Flypusher says:

    “I am just pointing out how the left isn’t worried about all of the non-testorone girls who had to compete against the girl pumped full of testosterone.”

    Then you didn’t read the whole post. “Mack Beggs AND the girls he has to compete against are not being well served by the birth certificate requirement” is pretty clearly expressing concern for the girls not taking hormone treatments. Read the whole post first, then look for nit-picking points to score against “the left”.

  13. Paul A Kubosh says:

    Neither,

    You are making my point. As a progressive you will never comment on those girls who had to compete against a girl full of testosterone. Instead you go on a tangent about abortion and divorce. See I was right. Mention anything negative about Abortion and you Progressives come unglued. For the record both are bad.

    You are doing a great job representing the new moral majoirty.

    Flypusher, I am not talking about the article I am talking to all the lefy’s commenting here.

  14. Flypusher says:

    You’re moving the goal posts Paul. Your earlier words:”I am just pointing out how the left isn’t worried about all of the non-testorone girls who had to compete against the girl pumped full of testosterone.”

    “THE left”, not “all the [leftys] commenting here.” For the record I have heard those concerns voiced by left wing people. Our blog author counts as one of them.

  15. Paul Kubosh says:

    I am really not sure what you mean or what point you are trying to make. Maybe I am just not smart enough to understand all of the deep thoughtful philosophy of the left. I am done with this thread. You lefty’s have the last word.;)

  16. General Grant says:

    I was just pointing out that the people who oppose the both certificate requirement (colloquially, the “left”), would agree that he should compete with boys. So, I’m not sure why you took a shot at them on this issue.

    Also, what does abortion have to do with this? How does this help solve the issue?

    Banning transgendered students from competing at all is a really promising idea. In fact, I think it should be expanded….if we were to ban transgendered people from using restrooms at all, that would moot the need to worry about which one they should use. You’ve really uncovered a great public policy solution here, Paul.

  17. Bill Daniels says:

    Paul,

    I think I agree with what Fly is saying. The left clearly would prefer that Mack wrestle and shower with the boys. Social conservatives would prefer that she wrestle and shower with the girls, which is what happened. As a libertarian, I kind of split on social issues, in this particular case, I agree with the UIL….she wrestles with the girls, which she did.

    Remember Brittney Griner at Baylor? She clearly had waaaay more testosterone than the average girl basketball player, and she dominated her sport. The only difference between them is, Brittney’s was natural, and Mack’s is from a bottle.

  18. paul a kubosh says:

    I can’t help myself….

    GRANT,

    IT IS AGAINST UIL RULES TO USE TESTOSTERONE AND COMPETE. IT IS HER USE OF TESTOSTERONE THAT SHOULD HAVE BANNED HER. NOT THE FACT THAT SHE WANTS TO BE A BOY. GRANT, YOU MUST NOT HAVE ANY KIDS.

    WRESTLING WITH THE GIRLS IS CHEATING THE NON-TESTOSTERONE GIRLS. THE FACT THAT THE UIL HAS RULES THAT LET HER CHEAT DOESN’T MEAN ITS NOT CHEATING.

    IF THE UIL WAS GOING TO LET HER COMPETE AT ALL IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN AGAINST THE BOYS LIKE SHE WANTED TO DO.

    I BROUGHT UP THE ABORTION ISSUE TO MAKE A POINT ABOUT HOW YOU PROGRESSIVES ARE NOT AS PRO-WOMAN AS YOU LIKE TO THINK YOU ARE. YOU SPEND MORE TIME TALKING ABOUT THE ABORTION THEN YOU DO ABOUT THE YOUNG GIRLS WHO GOT CHEATED WRESTLING AGAINST MACK.

    YOU GUYS ARE JUST AS HYPOCRITICAL AS THE REST OF US.

  19. paul a kubosh says:

    Its high school sports that has me all stirred up. Look at my very first post. Tell me who disagrees with what I posted?

  20. General Grant says:

    My point was simply that the “left” who you attacked in this case would generally agree she should compete with boys. It is the Dan Patricks of the world who are responsible for the UIL rule. So, I am not sure why you attacked the left on this one, since you actually agree with them.

    And I didn’t mention abortion at all, nor did anyone else. And I specifically discussed how this was unfair to the other girls, which is why I made the policy proposal I did.

    SO IF YOU ARE GOING TO GO ALL CAPS, AT LEAST READ CAREFULLY WHAT YOU ARE RESPONDING TO.

  21. General Grant says:

    I made a typo and meant to say “he” not “she” in my previous post. Apologies.

  22. paul a kubosh says:

    I don’t speak for Dan Patrick but I can’t think of anyone who has children that compete in athletics who think that playing with Testosterone is o.k. No matter what the UIL says.

    Also I mentioned Abortion first. I didn’t say you did. Neither went on a rant comparing Abortion to Divorce after I made my post about Abortion. I am going to try my best not to respond to this thread anymore. In fact I am going to give up responding to this post for lent.

  23. Neither Here Nor There says:

    There you go Paul, using that Republican logic, accusing neither of going on a rant. It was not a rant, your response to someone was to throw in abortion. I just pointed out that it was not logically to do that and responded with questions, which you will or cannot answer. If you can add abortion certainly others can add divorce.

    Your responses which are so full of toxic rage is what makes it difficult to ignore some times.

    Certainly, I don’t expect all the Left whomever those might be to be in favor of forcing him to compete with the women, but I suspect that they may have gone with Beggs’ choice to compete against the boys.

    But it the use of testosterone is your concern and only concern then maybe no person using them should be allowed to compete. That would prohibit all persons like Beggs from participating in any sports. Is that your desire Paul?

  24. Joel says:

    “WRESTLING WITH THE GIRLS IS CHEATING THE NON-TESTOSTERONE GIRLS. THE FACT THAT THE UIL HAS RULES THAT LET HER CHEAT DOESN’T MEAN ITS NOT CHEATING.”

    i don’t think “cheating” means what you think it means?