Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs has once again won the girls’ state wrestling championship in Texas despite controversy over his participation in a match against girls. The 18-year-old student of Euless Trinity High School beat Chelsea Sanchez on Saturday in the 110-pound division match.
Beggs, born female, is currently transitioning to male and has been taking testosterone in low doses. Beggs wanted to fight against boys, but according to Texas high school rules, athletes should be pitted against contestants who are of the same gender as stated on their birth certificate.
Beggs’ victory was both cheered on and booed based on a video posted online.
He won the girls' state championship twice in a row.
Beggs was born female but started identifying as a male six years ago.
He said that wrestling helped him deal with his struggles about his gender identity.
The wrestling champion started his transition in 2015.
The trans teen told Sports Day that it was a humbling experience, although he really wanted to wrestle with boys.
“I felt a lot more humble. This year I wanted to prove a point that anyone can do anything. Even though I was put in this position, even though I didn’t want to be put in this position, even though I wanted to wrestle the guys, I still had to wrestle the girls.”
The road to Beggs’ championship has been riddled with controversy because he was forced to continue wrestling with girls after his transition and start of his testosterone therapy. Not only that, he’s been taking steroids, which stirred the debate on fairness in the competition.
Beggs beat three female wrestlers on his way to the finals.
Two girls forfeited their matches against Beggs, which helped propel his way to the championships.
One girl's parent was concerned about Beggs' steroid use.
Meanwhile, the senior student's fans believe that it's not his fault for competing against girls.
Social media users expressed their support for the athlete by saying that the school board is at fault for not allowing him to participate in a male competition. Beggs also hopes that Texas will change its laws about participants of the high school wrestling match. In 2017, he told ESPN:
“[Texas policymakers] should change the laws and then watch me wrestle the boys. Because I’m a guy. It just makes more sense.”
Beggs is currently not available for interviews.
His mother, Angela McNew, said he needs to be in solitude before the state meet. This should allow the teen to concentrate on his goals and get away from the social media backlash.
He is expected to compete in the men's division at college.
According to the USA Wrestling and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Beggs will be required to fight under the men’s team since he will be classified as one based on his testosterone intake.
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