QUEER VOICES
07/21/2017 01:27 pm ET

Trans Wrestler Protests Bathroom Bill: 'We Are Not Choosing'

Mack Beggs says prospective laws will "isolate and exclude" LGBTQ people.

Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs urged Texans to speak out against proposed legislation that would bar trans people from using restrooms and other public facilities that best correspond with their gender identity in a new video. 

The 17-year-old, who hails from Euless, Texas, recalled the first time he was able to use locker rooms and restrooms consistent with his gender identity in the above clip. “It was an acknowledgement of who I am and made me feel like I belonged on my team and in my school,” he said in the video, which was produced by Athlete Ally. “Transgender athletes aren’t cheating. We aren’t choosing. We belong.” 

On Wednesday, Texas’s Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, who are both Republican, introduced two bills, SB3 and SB91, that would require citizens to use public restrooms that correspond with the gender specified on their birth certificate. Gov. Greg Abbott, also a Republican, has expressed support for the measures, though hundreds of people were expected to testify Friday at the state’s capitol during a special hearing about the bills.

The two bills have been heavily compared to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, or HB2, which sparked a firestorm of controversy in the Tar Heel State last year.  

Beggs, who made headlines in February when he was forced to compete in a girl’s competition because of Texas regulations, said creating laws that force trans people “into harm’s way isn’t what our state stands for.” 

“Our ability to access spaces consistent with our gender identities and to have the same legal protections and opportunities to thrive should not be infringed upon,” he said. “These potential laws only increase the likelihood of us being assaulted or worse. It only serves to isolate and exclude the entire LGBTQ community.” 

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