Mack Beggs won the gold medal at a Class 6A girls’ state wrestling championship at the UIL Wrestling State Tournament in Texas. The only issue is that Beggs is a boy.
Beggs is a 110-pound transgender male who would prefer to wrestle boys. According to current wrestling rules, however, the gender of the contestant is determined by one’s birth certificate.
The wrestler said after his victory, and in spite of hearing some boos from the audience: “I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my teammates. That’s honestly what the spotlight should have been … my teammates,” referring to the Trinity High School girls who also had a hand in the team’s second-place finish.
“The hard work that I put in in the practice room with them beside me — we trained hard every single day, — that’s where the spotlight should have been on. Not me. All of these guys. Because I would not be here without them. Hard work ethic pays off.”
Beggs held his gold medal over his head and said, “Just saying.”
Beggs was born a girl, but his parents have said that, since he was about three years old, he would always consider himself a boy.
Mack has been on testosterone over the past year which, although a performance-enhancing drug, according to UIL deputy executive director, Jamey Harrison, is governed by Texas state law. That law allows a student who is being administered steroids or testosterone by a physician to compete.
Harris said, “That, simply put, means that our reading of the law means that UIL cannot declare a student ineligible for the use of performance-enhancing drugs if they are doing so under the exception vested in the law.” However, he did say that the UIL staff would like to work in conjunction with lawmakers to review the law.
Transgender proponents and medical experts agree with Beggs in that he should be allowed to wrestle with boys.
Dr. Robert Garofalo of Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital said, “Wanting him to compete with girls is going against best practices and guidelines that are already established by organizations like the NCAA.”
Another doctor, Dr. Eric Vilain, professor of human genetics and pediatrics at UCLA, said the birth-certificate rule has a “twisted logic.” He said, “This case makes absolutely no sense, to not allow this athlete to compete with boys.”
Even an unnamed female wrestling coach felt Mack Beggs should be allowed to wrestle with the boys’ team, saying, “If that’s what he wants to do, let him do that. Any girl can go and lift weights and be as muscular as Mack is and be just as strong.
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