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Texas Trans Wrestler Wins State Girls Championship to Protests and Uncertainty

Mack Beggs
Melissa Phillips/The Houston Chronicle

Teenager Mack Beggs wanted to compete as a boy, but state league rules prevented him.

Mack Beggs capped off an undefeated wrestling season by winning the girls state championship this weekend in Cypress, Texas. However, the high-school junior left the mat to a mixture of cheers and boos. Beggs's journey to gold left parents and schoolmates alike divided over the young wrestler's gender identity and how to handle gender identity in student athletics.

Beggs identifies as a boy and requested from the state's University Interscholastic League to compete in the boys' wrestling league. However, the UIL rules specifies that a wrestler must compete as the gender listed on their birth certificate. Beggs is taking testosterone as part of his transition--which is also allowed by the UIL, since the hormone is being used to treat a medical condition, specifically, gender dysphoria.

Many Texas parents, however, thought that the Beggs's hormone therapy gave him an unfair advantage against female wrestlers. Attorney Jim Baudhuin sued to prevent Beggs from competing while he transition, but Baudhuin told the AP he harbors no ill will against Beggs.

"The more I learn about this, the more I realize that she's just trying to live her life and her family is, too," Baudhuin told the AP, referring to Beggs by female pronouns. "She's being forced into that position. Who knows, through discovery we may find out that's not the case. But every indication is, the way the winds are going now, the blame rests with the UIL and the superintendents."

Beggs made a short statement following his championship win, emphasizing his teammates over the controversy surround his competition.

"I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for my teammates," he said. "That's honestly what the spotlight should be on, is my teammates. The hard work that I put in the practice room with them beside me, we trained every single day, every single day, and that's what the spotlight should be been on, not me. Hard work pays off."

There is no indication if the UIL will alter its rule on birth certificates. The confusion comes as Texas prepares to debate a bathroom bill similar to North Carolina's HB 2 that would prevent transgender people-like Beggs-from using bathrooms and changing facilities matching their gender identity.

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