It is the second year in a row that Mack Beggs, a transgender male wrestler, has won the Texas girls’ Class 6A 110-pound division. For the last two years, Beggs has been forced to wrestle in the girls’ division because Texas Public High School rules require athletes to compete according to the gender that is listed on their birth certificate.
Beggs entered the championships with a perfect 32-0 record, while easily beating three female wrestlers en route to his second championship. The crowd both booed and cheered or Beggs as he again defeated Chelsea Sanchez, who he had also defeated in the 2017 championship match.
The two-time champion has been undergoing a low dose testosterone regimen as part of his gender transition. Beggs has asked to be allowed to wrestle in the boy’s division, however the state’s birth certificate rules that were adopted in 2016 prevent him from doing so. Beggs’ participation in the girl’s tournament has been the subject of fierce debate over the last two years, however this year was much quieter compared to 2017, when there was a failed lawsuit filed to prevent him from competing.
Beggs’ mother, Angela McNew says that her son has the highest respect for the women he has been forced to wrestle. “People think Mack has been beating up on girls,’ McNew told the Associated Press. ”The girls he wrestles with, they are tough. It has more to do with skill and discipline than strength.”
There were two forfeits in the 2017 regional tournament by wrestlers who feared injury from having to wrestle Beggs. He faced only one forfeit this season. The girl’s coach and teammates had insisted she wrestle Beggs, but she refused, McNew said.
For two years, Beggs’ story has created controversy as it exposes the hypocrisy of forcing people to participate in not only sports, but access public facilities and services according to the assigned birth on their birth certificate without considering their gender identity. Beggs has also gained some notoriety in LGBT circles, where despite the booing he has received, he has also received votes of confidence from prominent transgender athletes such as Chris Mosier, who came to his defense.
“Mack Beggs is a just kid who wants to compete in the sport he loves,” Mosier said on Twitter. “Texas gave him 2 options: wrestle with girls or quit. He wrestles.
Beggs is looking forward to wrestling in college, where he will finally be able to wrestle other boys as NCAA rules allow him to compete according to his gender identity. “I am looking forward to college. I am looking forward to being on a men's team, in a men's division, working on my takedowns, being as strong as the guys,” Beggs had told the Star Telegram. “I'm already a couple of years behind, so I have a lot to catch up on."