Lawsuit Clouds Texas Transgender Student Wrestler’s Championship

A north Texas transgender high school wrestler, transitioning from female to male, won a girls’ regional championship when the female opponent forfeited the match over the weekend.

Euless Trinity High School junior Mack Beggs, 17, triumphed in the girls’ 110-pound Class 6A Region 2 championship against Coppell high schooler Madeline Rocha, who declined to participate in the wrestling match on Saturday.

The forfeit was expected. The Dallas Morning News reported Coppell attorney Jim Baudhuin filed a lawsuit earlier in February against the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the governing body over Texas high school athletics, music, and academic events. He urged the league to suspend Beggs over steroid use, which is prohibited by UIL rules and the Texas Education Code. Beggs takes testosterone while transitioning from female to male. Baudhuin’s complaint asserted that allowing Beggs to wrestle competitively while using testosterone exposed the other athletes to the “imminent threat of bodily harm.”

Baudhuin is also a wrestling parent, but his daughter does not compete in the same weight class as Beggs. He contended the lawsuit had nothing to do with Beggs being a transgender male but over Coppell coaches concerned that wrestling Beggs would be unsafe for their wrestler. The transgender student’s grandmother and guardian, Nancy Beggs, called the forfeited match “about bias, hatred, and ignorance,” according to the Dallas paper.

Chapter 38 of the Texas Education Code forbids steroid and human growth hormone usage in athletics for enhancement purposes, considering it a criminal offense punishable by prison time; however, it does permit the use of anabolic steroids for “medical use only” when a doctor prescribes treatment for the individual. Similarly, the UIL allows a “licensed practitioner with prescriptive authority” to administer a steroid for a person.

Even though Beggs identifies as male, the wrestler must compete against girls because of a UIL rule that requires student-athletes to compete by the gender listed on their birth certificates. In early 2016, Texas public school district superintendents voted 586-32 in favor of an amendment requiring state officials to use a student-athlete’s birth certificate to determine gender identification, Breitbart Texas reported. That rule went into effect on August 1, although former Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams previously approved the amendment as part of an 11 rule packet in November 2015. It codified what the league already advised superintendents do in handling such situations — use birth certificates when gender questions arise.

The UIL 2016-17 Wrestling Manual prohibits boys and girls from grappling with each other in Texas. Coupled with the birth certificate rule, it disqualified Beggs from sparring against boys. Nancy Beggs, told the Morning News that her grandchild wants to compete against boys but is willing to follow UIL rules. She said they sent the teen’s medical records to the league before the 2015-16 and current wrestling seasons. The UIL approved the Euless student-athlete to compete.

While Beggs and Rocha did not wrestle Saturday, both advanced to the state championships. The night before, Beggs competed against Grand Prairie high school female wrestler Kailyn Clay in a semifinal match, which Beggs won by a pin. Wrestling Texas lists Beggs as undefeated (52-0) this year.

The UIL maintains a “non-discrimination” policy that allows equal opportunity no matter disability, race, color, gender, religion, or national origin, as reported by Breitbart Texas. There are some exceptions to that general policy. The University of Texas at Austin created the UIL in 1910 to assist public school athletic and debate teachers. The league evolved into the largest inter-school organization of its kind in the world.

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.


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