EULESS (CBS11) – A North Texas wrestler is breaking barriers but not without controversy.
Born a girl, Mack Beggs won his quarterfinal match in the state championship Friday.
Beggs is representing Trinity High School at the Houston tournament, and he may also be representing a turning point in how Texas handles policy on transgender athletics in the future.
When Beggs took to the mat against his first opponent in the state tournament, it was all business. But outside Houston’s Berry Center, parents of wrestlers competing were split on the fairness of having the transgender teen compete against girls.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal. I think it would be okay. I don’t think… like I wouldn’t be upset or anything like that if she were to compete over our daughter,” Valerie Hernandez said.
“I don’t know if that’s a competitive match because she takes hormones and stuff to transition, so I don’t know if their strength will be the same, so I don’t think it’s fair for her to compete against another girl,” Willamena Bridges said.
For the last year, Beggs has been receiving testosterone therapy to transition from girl to boy. UIL policy requires athletes to compete as the gender listed on their birth certificate, so even though Beggs wanted to compete against other boys, he had to wrestle girls.
As the controversy off the mat grows, wrestler Annamarie Crixell who went into the tournament with the prospect of facing Beggs said she welcomes him.
“It would be an honor, honestly, to wrestle somebody with that courage to make that transition in their life – they’ve probably been wanting to make for a long time. It would be an honor,” Crixell said.
Since the testosterone is doctor-prescribed, the UIL allows Beggs to wrestle, but that prompted one North Texas parent to file a lawsuit against the UIL.
Beggs wrestles in the semi-finals Saturday.