A trans boy wrestler who was forced to compete as a girl has won his second state championship.
Mack Beggs, 17, was the center of controversy at last years state championship. He was taking testosterone and was visibly masculine, but the University Interscholastic League (UIL), which regulates high school athletics in Texas, made him compete with the girls because that’s the gender on his birth certificate.
A parent sued the UIL to make Beggs compete with the boys, but a judge dismissed that suit.
The state also considered legislation that would have banned transgender teens from competing at all. Letting trans teens compete with their gender – which other states and many adult athletic organizations allow – is apparently not an option in Texas.
But nothing actually changed. Beggs was back at the state championship this year after finishing a perfect 36-0 season in the 110-pound division.
What did change was the parents’ reactions. According to the Star-Telegram, a few parents booed him last year but they were drowned out by others who cheered. This year, the boos were much louder, according to video footage from WFAA.
“You put me in front of anybody and I’ll wrestle them,” Beggs said in response to claims that he’s cheating by transitioning and competing against girls. Beggs has insisted for the past two years that he would prefer to compete as a boy.
“Each time I read comments, they all say the same thing about steroids,” he added, referring to testosterone. Beggs is undergoing hormone replacement therapy under the care of a doctor, which the UIL allows. Beggs said last year that he’s taking less than the recommended dosage of testosterone in order to stay within the “allowed level.” “It all comes down to technique and who has the most heart.”
He says he’s now focused on college, where the NCAA allows transgender wrestlers to compete with their gender. He has also been offered an athletic scholarship out of state.
“I wanted to come out on top, and in my heart – I feel like a champion,” he said.