12-Year-Old Girl Fights for Her Right to Wrestle on the Boys Team

Some people just want to wrestle. Twelve-year-old Audrianna Beattie is one of them.

In fact, she does wrestle, and has been since the third grade. She’s not bad, either. But when she moved from Iowa to rural Pennsylvania she found that she couldn’t compete against the boys.

I don’t mean that in a “she’s not good enough” kind of way. Last year she competed against boys, and her record was 5-3. No, what I mean is that at her new school she isn’t allowed to compete with boys. It’s against the rules.

She’s not taking this lying down. She’s literally making a federal case of it. Last week she testified for 40 minutes in front of a federal judge for her right to compete with the boys. Audrianna’s parents believe that their daughter’s ineligibility violates the federal equal protection clause and the state constitution’s equal rights amendment.

Not everyone is so convinced. There is, of course, a lot of heteronormative hemming and hawing and pearl-clutching from the school district.

According to the president of the school board, Troy Laudenslager: “You’re supposed to stick your face in the girl’s chest. Anywhere else you would be suspended.”

Yeah, bro. If I had walked around my middle and high schools whacking things with a tennis racket, I probably would have been suspended, too. But even though I had those raging teenage hormones, I could still tell the difference between playing a game and going to class and otherwise existing in the world. It’s not a hard lesson to teach and learn.

School board member Lauren Hackenburg said: “I don’t think it’s OK. I think it sends mixed messages.”

Really? Like what? That women and girls are capable competitors? That being female-bodied or otherwise identifying as feminine doesn’t automatically make someone weak? These sound like good messages to send to everyone regardless of gender.

School board member Ron Neidig was concerned for the psychological well-being of the boys. (Honestly! Will someone please think of the boys!) He called it a “lose-lose” situation because if the boy beats the girl, then, well, they’ve beaten a girl. If the boy loses, then he’ll get teased about losing to a girl.

See, this sounds like a problem with boys, not Audrianna, and it’s a problem that could be addressed by simply letting the girl wrestle. It seems obvious to a lot of people that boys should be the best and strongest and brightest. But you know what? That’s not always how it plays out in life. Both boys and girls should learn that early. It’s not what gender you identify with. It’s how hard you work.

A decision should be made in December, and there has been a restraining order issued so the school can’t enforce its rule in the meantime.

There are certainly physiological differences between men and women and boys and girls, broadly speaking. But that is really only a generalization. Individuals can vary. If Audrianna can hack it with the boy wrestlers — and it sounds like she can — for God’s sake, let her play.

Photo Credit: Tsutomu Takasu via Flickr/Creative Commons


Jerome S
Jerome S9 months ago


Jim V
Jim Ven9 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Donna Ferguson
Donna F4 years ago


Ron H.
Ron H.4 years ago

I agree with Flava M. completely boys/men girls/women are different. There are some things we can do together but some things just are not possible to do together without hurt feelings or stepping into personal occurring. And your right we should celebrate our differences and help each other along the way. And i think your experience with flag football is a great example of what happens when there is contact between men and woman. Just as the mention of "he touch me" can cause all kinds of problems even when the touch is part of the sport. It just opens too many doors that make it worst then it need be.

Flava Maxima
Flava Maxima4 years ago

I recall a time whereas I was playing flag football (American) and I was playing the line. My opponent directly opposite of me was a female. On the hike I remember coming off the line and my hand slide up her body and under the wire of her bra and it took a bit to get them out as it was an awkward situation. Took awhile to realize what had happened and I did get a different look from her just before the next play began. Awkward to say the best. And this was flag football which requires less contact than wrestling.

Most interesting to me are the comments whereas those who oppose this somewhat are classified as "behind the times" or whatever. To me this is not about men being better than woman or vice versa, but about the separation males and females should be enjoying and feel secure in - and this because they are males and females. We are not the same and should appreciate what we are.

Brad O.
Brad O.4 years ago

Shawna shawna shawna lol I dare you to play any sport against me and you will get hurt. Would not be able to keep the pace let alone handle what I am going to throw at you so sit and watch before you get hurt. YOU HAVE A BIG MOUTH and I bet you cannot back it up. Girls just play with girls and the guys play with guys. Something bad always comes from things like this when we start mixing the gender in sports. HOW ABOUT THIS COMMENT "HE TOUCHED ME" lol and they are playing a contact sport what ever,give you f'n head a shake.

Jenna Summers
Jennifer B4 years ago

Since when is having gender specific teams unconstitutional? You're a girl. Play on the girls team. There is no shame in that.

David B.
David B4 years ago

LOL!! I think they don't want her to wrestle with the boys because there sweet lil darlings wont be able to control there hormones .or maybe the prefer to be snuggley and just touching boy skin??

Marg Tyrell
Margaret Tyrell4 years ago

It's a boys team and you're a girl. Get over it. Join a girls team.

Chazz York jr
Chazz York4 years ago

I found a break from accepting new members, and answering emails and comments so I figured I would check on things here too. Shawna Bites.. Those are your words Shawna, Not Mine. LMAO! Oops! I mean John S Aka Shawna.