A couple of months ago, 17-year-old Mack Beggs made headlines last year when he won the Texas state championship in wrestling.
Normally, that wouldn’t make national headlines. However, Beggs won it in the girls division.
You see, Mack Beggs is transgender, and he wants to compete in the boys division. Texas high school athletics policy requires him to compete based on the gender (in Mack’s case, female) listed on his birth certificate, though.
Now, a Texas law could make Mack’s struggle even harder.
SB 2095 is an act “relating to regulation of steroid use by students participating in athletic competitions sponsored or sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League.”
At first glance, the act does not look problematic for the teen. However, as the Daily Beast‘s Samantha Allen pointed out in a recent article:
…testosterone treatment for young transgender men like the 17-year-old Beggs could be seen as a basis for disqualification even though cross-sex hormone therapy for transgender people is supported by major medical associations.
In an interview with the Jiu-Jitsu Times, Beggs denied that he is “pumping himself up with steroids” or that the hormones he is taking give him an unfair advantage over his opponents.
SB 2095 was filed by Republican Senator Bob Hall. The senator denied that the bill was targeting transgender athletes.
This bill is not addressing who plays on what sports. This bill is addressing individuals who … are taking steroids, then make sure, as a result of that, the events remain safe and fair.
That, however, is not stopping SB 2095’s opponents.
Senator Jose Menendez, a Democrat, said of the bill:
I don’t believe we can sit back and ignore the fact that there are students who are transitioning and are taking legally prescribed medication from their doctors and they may be competing in UIL sports. I don’t think we should ever discriminate against these students.
Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally, had harsh words for SB 2095, telling The Daily Beast it was “terrible” and “a veiled attempt to exclude transgender athletes from participating in sports [that’s] been disguised under the auspices of fair play and reducing steroid use.”
For Mack, wrestling is not a sport he would ever want to be excluded from.
“I love the drive to win,” he told the Jiu-Jitsu Times’ Averi Clements. “No matter who you put in front of me, I’ll go against them.”
Hopefully, he will be able to continue his passion.