Despite all the controversy he faced and despite the mixed feelings that pervaded the state tournament, Mack Beggs, a transgender teen transitioning from female to male, won the Texas girl’s 110-pound wrestling championship on Saturday. Afterward, he tried to place the spotlight on his teammates.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my teammates,” Beggs said, via the Dallas Morning News. “That’s honestly what the spotlight should’ve been on, my teammates. The hard work that I put in the practice room with them beside me, we trained hard every single day. Every single day. That’s what the spotlight should’ve been on.”
Here was Beggs’s winning moment.
But not everybody was pleased. The 17-year-old Beggs, a junior at Euless Trinity High School in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, has undergone testosterone treatments while she transitions, and some believe that gave him a strength advantage over the other wrestlers he faced. Beggs has said he’d rather compete against boys, but because his birth certificate says he’s a female, he has no choice but to wrestle in the girl’s tournament.
Beggs declined to talk to the media for most of the tournament, but as he wrote on Facebook last week, he’s faced discrimination by the parents and coaches and not the high school wrestlers.
This is the third time Beggs has competed in the state tournament, and after winning only once in his first two years, he dominated this year. Beggs, who began treatments in October 2015, finished the season with a 56-0 record, and one parent thinks she knows why.
“Look at how beefed up she is,” wrestling parent Patti Overstreet, who yelled at Beggs that he was a cheater, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s because she’s taking [a testosterone] enhancement. Whether she’s a boy, girl, wants to be purple or blue, it doesn’t matter. When you’re using a drug and you’re 10 times stronger than the person you’re wrestling because of that drug, that shouldn’t be allowed.”
Lisa Latham, whose daughter was beaten by Beggs in her first-round match, tried to get her child to forfeit. But Taylor Latham is a senior, and she refused.
“She’s going for it. She’s not quitting,” Lisa Latham told the Washington Post. “I go from praying and, ‘God, I trust you,’ to being angry at myself for teaching her not to quit. … The system is set up to fail. It’s failing Mack, and it’s failing my daughter.”
Though it appears, because of the Texas rules, Beggs will have to compete against girls again next year, Chris Mosier, a trans athlete and activist, believes the rules should be changed.
High school athletic association policies for trans athletes should allow for participation by gender identity, not by birth certificate.— The Chris Mosier (@TheChrisMosier) February 20, 2017