Mack Beggs wanted to wrestle against his fellow boys, but Texas says you must compete against those of the same gender as your birth certificate.

by A. Big Country

Congratulations to Mack Beggs of Trinity High School in Euless, Texas, who won the girls’ Texas state high school wrestling championship. While the congratulations are deserved, the trophy is just the beginning of the controversy around his victory. Because a boy just won the girls’ state championship.

Beggs is a 17-year-old transgender student.  

His final victory, which completed a 56-0 season, was met with a smattering of cheers and boos. For a child going through a gender transition, who is a target of opposing parents, coaches and peers, that celebration may not have felt like one.  

Related: For Chris Mosier, the Olympics’ First Out Trans Athlete, Competing Means Something More

Almost two years ago, Beggs began his transition. He started taking testosterone as part of that. While he wished to wrestle against boys, it was not allowed by Texas state rules, which mandate that you must compete against those of the same gender as your birth certificate.  

And so Beggs competed against girls. And at 110 pounds, taking testosterone while competing seemed to others like an unfair advantage (though it should be stated that his testosterone tested below the allowable levels).  

“She’s standing there holding her head high like she’s the winner,” a mother of a wrestler in the boys’ division told The Washington Post. “She’s not winning. She’s cheating.”

At least one parent has brought a lawsuit against the University Interscholastic League (UIL), which forced Beggs to compete against girls. James Baudhuin, the lawyer hired to bring the case against the UIL and who had a daughter who wrestled against Beggs, also found himself cheering for Beggs, Baudhiun told The Washington Post.

“The 16 girls who are in [Beggs’s] bracket have been put in a very, very unfair situation because of the grown-ups. To me, this is a complete abject failure of leadership and accountability from the people who regulate sports in Texas. They’re doing wrong by Mack, and not just these 15 girls but all the other girls [he] wrestled all year.”

That sums it up quite well; no one is benefitting from this decision. So why was it made? Why are lawmakers and governing bodies refusing to accept that gender transition is a fact of life for some people?  

For the sake of everyone involved here, and for all transgender people, let’s hope that more people realize that being transgender is not a problem.  The problems come from not accepting it.  

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