Mack Beggs, trans boy, just won a Texas Girls’ wrestling competition. Understandably, this has been a source of controversy for a lot of people. Articles are being written all over the place and some of them are great some of them not so much. However all of them seem to be missing one key point; and its a doozy.
See, Mack Beggs might be one of the most important figures in trans athletic history at this moment in time.
First lets lay it out… Mack Beggs, began his transition while still in high-school, articles even suggest that the school have been super supportive and helped him along in his transition. He wanted to wrestle on the boys team but was not allowed because of regulations which state you must be part of the team your birth certificate states. So unfortunately for Mack, he was stuck dominating the girls’ league. I think he was 56-0 wins/losses last time I checked. There has been absolutely zero competition, and quite rightly so, one girl has backed out and her family is trying to get him disallowed from the league.
However they haven’t had such luck, it seems like Mack’s medication is for medical use, and is totally permitted and legal to use in the matches. Rules are a bitch eh?
So this rule that meant he couldn’t wrestle on the guy’s team… who did this?!?!? and why?
Answer being the UIL – the University Interscholastic League. The UIL Legislative Council is the rule making body composed of 32 school administrators. After taking a vote on the proposition, 95% of people voted in favour of birth certificates being the decider. Despite the page this statistic is lifted from also mentioning how “44 of the 51 high school state associations do not sponsor separate competitions for girls wrestling. Coed wrestling is the national standard for interscholastic and club wrestling and is widely-viewed as safe for participants of both genders”. Here’s the exact proposal – bear in mind when reading it that when they use the term girl/boy they are speaking about what it says on someone’s birth certificate – according to this, Mack is a girl.
From my reading and research into this subject a lot of the articles written around the time this proposal was being made and publicised, out side of the few that just regurgitate the basics. Don’t include any sort of criticisms of trans boys/men in men’s leagues. They’re about trans women in women’s leagues.
The idea that trans women dominate these leagues, despite literally no evidence suggesting this. Even the hubbub about Fallon Fox (MMA fighter) was just a hype train that never left the station. She did averagely well for someone of her height and weight class. Not the domination people expected. Heck, even discussion forums about the articles on this proposal are largely about trans women.
What’s more pressing is how James Harrison of the UIL’s advisory board made a statement about how these concerns were bought to the UIL by members of the public, not by the UIL and any scientific research into the matter at all.
Why is this important? Because at the same time, during 2016, North Carolina would create a law banning trans people from bathrooms – with again, the whole debate being centred on trans women in the women’s room. At this point in time trans women were everywhere, all over the internet being talked about. In fact, bring up the bathroom debate today on Twitter and again, people are still focusing it around trans women – because trans men don’t really exist apparently.
And that is why Mack Beggs is possibly one of the most important trans figures currently. He’s the first time that consequences for the bigoted actions against trans women in particular have had reaching effects on cis females. He’s a mirror of exactly what people were trying to avoid – men fighting in the women’s leagues – being held up back at those bigoted people who didn’t think before they acted. Whose only concern was finding a reason to hate on trans women, despite a lack of evidence for their claims. Who preyed on the hysteria and outrage of the idea of a man “invading women’s spaces”. You made your bed bigots, time to lie in it.
I, for one, will be thoroughly enjoying this delicious, delicious irony as it plays out.
Alternatively, Mack could get his birth certificate changed as is the law in Texas – though its a costly process and there’s no legal guidance, meaning its entirely down to individual judges. A judge might not like the cut of his jib, or not believe in trans and reject him. Meaning he would be back at square one. Though just by looking at him, I’d wager the judge would pass it. Still… I don’t see any of you outraged masses coughing up the cash to pay for it. How about it?
I’ve also emailed the UIL to see if I can get some actual information on the proposal – and more specifically, the arguments made that resulted in the vote. I might be wrong, but given the climate surrounding trans issues at the time this proposal was uhh…. proposed, I really doubt that I am.
The way I see it, this can either go one of two ways. The UIL double down, and continue this – trans are a tiny minority and so it will only rarely be an issue. Or they can realise that yeah, maybe they were wrong to push for this based on the public’s opinion and not based on any reasonable evidence and over turn it.