Transgender barrel racer excluded from rodeo in Rosenberg for not bringing birth certificate, organization says

ROSENBERG, Texas (KTRK) -- A rodeo organization says that a transgender woman was unable to participate in a barrel racing competition because she didn't bring her birth certificate to register.

Arqueze Girdy is a fifth generation rodeo competitor in her family, whose specialty is women's barrel racing.

She is also transgender.

"It's something I realized when I was a child," she said. "I've lived my life as a woman."

She said there have been times that the amateur rodeo circuit has not been kind to her.

"They never came out and said that it was because I'm transgender," Girdy said. "They would just say I wasn't qualified."

Girdy texted her entry form and paid her fee to compete in Saturday's MLK Scholarship and Rodeo event at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds. It is not a county-sponsored event, but one arranged by promoters who leased the facility for the event, which will be held for the first time.

We attempted to speak with the promoters and were asked to call back. Late Thursday, they responded to ABC13's request for comment.

"The promoters of the 1st Annual MLK Scholarship Rodeo and Trail ride are pleased to hold its inaugural event on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 9 a.m. at The Fort Bend County Fairgrounds. The goal of the event is to raise scholarship funds for deserving students in the Houston and surrounding areas. The rodeo and trail ride are open to ALL to attend and participate. Prospective participants should recognize that although this is an amateur event, which claims no professional affiliation whatsoever, all rodeo events and participants will be governed by rules and standards similar to those set forth by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and Women's Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (WPRCA). As for Ms. Girdy's concern regarding her ability to compete in this inaugural event, she first should make sure she has been in contact with official event promoters and affiliates, as we have only taken pre-registration up to this point and have yet to collect any funds from any participants; all registration will be completed at the fairgrounds. Secondly, if she has pre-registered, she should be aware of what is required at the time of entry. We are looking forward to Saturday's event and welcome everyone out to support our scholarship fund and enjoy a day of rodeo fun and entertainment."

They also sent ABC13 another statement on Saturday:

"Unfortunately, Ms. Girdy was unable to complete her entry for this year's Women's Barrel Racing Competition. However, the organizers, promoters and affiliates of the 1st Annual MLK Scholarship Rodeo and Trail Ride extend the invitation for Ms. Girdy to showcase her skills by running in this afternoon's exhibition. Further, we wish Ms. Girdy all the best in her quest to change the rules of women's professional rodeo and look forward to her competition in future events."

While the organization extended an invitation for Girdy to participate in this year's exhibition, it is unclear if she accepted.

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