17-year-old Mack Beggs wanted to become a champion, just not like this. He took the Texas 6A Girls wrestling title Saturday morning, beating Chelsea Sanchez in the final. Beggs’ stepmom Sandy Gonzales was there. She heard the many cheers, and a few boos.
“Everyone has their own opinion,” she told News 8.
Beggs has been transitioning from female to male by using testosterone therapy since 2015, but he is only allowed to wrestle girls. In 2016, the University Interscholastic League, which governs public school athletics, requires student athletes to compete according to the gender assigned on their birth certificate. He simply can’t wrestle other boys in an official setting, though his family told The Dallas Morning News that he wants to. Not only that, but local regulations prohibit students from using steroids unless these are proscribed for a valid medical reason, like Beggs’s transition. That’s caused some problems for everyone involved.
For example, he took a regional championship last weekend after two competitors, including his opponent in the final, forfeited. Beggs got salty, attributing this to bigotry by the adults.
“The thing is, we want to wrestle each other,” he wrote in a Feb. 19 Facebook post. “I feel so sick and disgusted by the discrimination not by the kids, the PARENTS AND COACHES. These kids don’t care who you put in front of them to wrestle. We just want to WRESTLE. THEY are taking that away from me and from the people I’m competing with.”
And he’s not even the one suing the UIL. Texas attorney and wrestling parent Jim Baudhuin recently sued the organization to suspend Beggs over his testosterone therapy. He said it exposes other athletes to “imminent threat of bodily harm.” His daughter is not in the same weight class as Beggs.
This lawyer suggested that the forfeits happened because the coaches were concerned about their wrestlers’ safety. In a Feb. 19 talk with the Dallas Morning News, he insisted that his lawsuit has nothing to do bigotry.
“I respect that completely, and I think the coaches do,” he said. “All we’re saying is she is taking something that gives her [sic] an unfair advantage. It’s documented. It’s universal that it’s an unfair advantage.”
[Screengrab via WFAA]