Mack Beggs is a transgender wrestler with the score of 132-9. Mack won the Class 6A 110-pound girls championship for the second time, competing for Trinity High School in Euless, Texas. However, Mack identifies himself as a boy, and he wanted to wrestle other boys during his career. In the finals, Beggs defeated Chelsea Sanchez of Morton Ranch High School.
End of Mack Beggs title match was chaos. Had huge lead, nearly got pinned, then came the crescendo of cheers/boos. pic.twitter.com/FrLixVsTAj
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) February 24, 2018
Mack Beggs is prohibited from wrestling boys because Texas law uses a student birth certificate to determine the gender of an athlete. TransAthlete claims Texas is one of seven states, alongside Idaho, Alabama, North Carolina, Nebraska, Louisiana, and Indiana; with discriminatory rules towards transgender K-12 student-athletes.
The original opinion of Samantha Allen of the Daily Best is that the 18-year-old is prohibited from wrestling boys only because his original birth certificate says he is a female. However, he is allowed to take testosterone as a part of his medical treatment.
Allen claims that Mack Beggs has become the target of the outrage around one year ago when his gender became a public topic. Allen believes that many people in the USA don’t understand what does it mean to be transgender or non-binary, and that might be the reason for such anger.
“There are those reacting to Beggs’ victory as if he were a per-transition transgender girl — i.e., someone who was assigned male at birth — competing in the girls category,” writes Allen. “Scroll through the replies on Twitter to the conservative Washington Times’ coverage of Beggs’ win and you’ll find many readers who didn’t grasp that Beggs is transitioning from female to male, not the other way around.”
Allen also claimed that Mack Beggs’ identity is completely misunderstood after a disappointing result of a 2015 Transgender Survey, where 57% of participants were assigned “female” due to their birth certificates.
Allen also connects the confusion over Mack Beggs with the U.S. “bathroom bills” controversy, which claims that people should access public restrooms based on the gender at birth. Allen claims the debate heavily ignores the fact that these rules force a transgender population to use restroom and bathroom for women and girls.
Here is what Mack Beggs said to Sports Day HS: (quoted by BloodyElbow.com)
“This year I wanted to prove a point that anyone can do anything,” said Beggs. “Even though I was put in this position, even through I didn’t want to be put in this position, even though I wanted to wrestle the guys, I still had to wrestle girls.
“But what can I tell people? I can tell the state Legislature to change the policy, but I can’t tell them to change it right now. All I can hope for is that they come to their [senses] and realize this is stupid and we should change the policies to conform to other people in my position.”
Mack Beggs claimed that he has never paid attention to public reactions. On Saturday, Mack Beggs was proudly tapping his chest after the victory while there were cheers and boos around him.
“They’re saying ‘steroids.’ They’re saying, ‘Oh they’re beating up on the girls,’” said Beggs of the typical heckles he receives.
According to Sports Day HS, the audience was not the only one outraged at Mack Beggs. Kayla Fitts had the perfect score of 52-0 before losing to Mack Beggs with the score of 11-2 in the semifinal. Fitts told to The Dallas Morning News:
“The strength definitely was the difference. I didn’t anticipate how strong he was.”
Kayla Fitts also claims it was not fair she had to wrestle Mack Beggs:
“I understand if you want to transition your gender,” she said. “I understand that totally. But there’s a time and a place. You can do that after high school. Or if you want to do it, you can quit the sport. Because I don’t think it’s fair at all that you’re taking testosterone. That’s steroids. I know it’s not a lot. But still.”
According to Sports Day HS reports, Mack Beggs takes low-dose testosterone injections, prescribed by his doctor since his freshmen year. According to the Texas law, testosterone use is allowed in competition of Texas high school athletes if it is dispensed, prescribed, administered, or delivered by a doctor for a valid medical purpose.
According to Ian Kidd, Bloody Elbow’s expert in performance-enhancing-drugs, 35-50 milligrams per week is the starting point for a lot of Testosterone Replacement Therapy protocols.
“It’s not much,” said Kidd of Beggs’ regimen, though he stated testosterone would provide some kind of strength advantage versus teenage girls.
“That dose of testosterone will likely be intended to get Beggs into the normal range of testosterone for [cisgender males],” said Kidd. “Cis women have an average of 15-70 nanograms of serum testosterone per deciliter of blood. Cis men typically have between 300 and 1100 ng/dl.”
“There aren’t a lot of studies that directly measure the kind of effect testosterone has on the athletic performance of people as they transition,” added Kidd. “A lot of the effect will depend on the free (circulating) testosterone levels Beggs has, but it’s fair to say he will almost certainly find it easier to build and retain muscle, and have a greater capacity for gaining muscle, as would be expected from anyone substantially increasing their testosterone levels.”
The real problem with the argument is whether Mack Beggs should compete with the girls at all in the first place. His wish was to compete against boys. It was his last high-school wrestling match on Saturday. During ten years of his career, he faced many things – suicidal thoughts, lawsuit, depression, boos, provocations… Mack Beggs is thankful to his coach Travis Clark, most of his family, and teammates for helping overcome the difficulties.
Mack Beggs is now looking forward to college wrestling. He has received a scholarship from a small college outside of Texas. However, Mack didn’t want to discover the name of the college.
Luckily for Mack Beggs, the rules in NCAA and USA wrestling won’t prevent him wrestling boys. Beggs is very happy for it, and he barely waits for new challenges. Mack told Brad Townsend from Sports Day HF that he is expecting one tough year of college, and a possibility to sit out a little bit more, while he improves strength and technique to be able to wrestle men.
“My focus is now to go not just NCAA, but train for the Olympics, 2020 and 2024.”
What do you think, what chances does Mack Beggs have in NCAA and USA wrestling against men?