For the second consecutive year, a transgender wrestler has captured the Texas girls’ Class 6A 110-pound state championship. Mack Beggs capped off another undefeated season on Feb. 24 by defeating Chelsea Sanchez in the title match for the second year in a row.
Beggs was born female, but currently transitioning to male and is taking a low dose of testosterone. He has advocated for his desire to compete against the boys, however state policy says students must compete against the gender listed on their birth certificate.
The senior at Euless Trinity High School near Dallas was greeted to a mix of cheers and boos following his most recent state title victory.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Beggs Has Dominated His Competition
Beggs finished the 2017 season a remarkable 57-0 against female competition in the Texas girls’ 110-pound division. He defeated Chelsea Sanchez in the state final. In 2018, he posted another unblemished 33-0 mark and defeated Sanchez again in the title match. He was met with a mix of cheers and boos from the crowd after he was declared the winner.
There has been plenty of controversy along the way. In 2017, Beggs’ road to the championship included two forfeits in the regional tournament, one of them taking place in the finals. On both occasions Beggs spoke directly to the girls afterward and “they didn’t want to forfeit,” according to ESPN.
“Their parents made them forfeit,” Beggs told ESPN. “And I was like, ‘Are you being serious?’ Like you’re going to let ignorance take over your daughter wrestling no matter who it is?”
2. The State of Texas Won’t Allow Him To Compete Against Boys
In February 2016, Texas school’s superintendents voted overwhelmingly to force students compete as the gender listed on their birth certificate. It passed with 95 percent of the vote. Chris Mosier, of TransAthelete.com, told the newspaper that because of the passing, “Texas now becomes one of the most restrictive states in the nation for transgender athletic participation.”
The University Interscholastic League is the body which governs Texas high school athletics in the state of Texas. The UIL’s non-discrimination policy states: “Gender shall be determined based on a student’s birth certificate. In cases where a student’s birth certificate is unavailable, other similar government documents used for the purpose of identification may be substituted.”
Since Beggs is taking a low dose of testosterone, he has a physical advantage against the girls he is competing with. “He has so much respect for all the girls he wrestles,” Beggs’ mother, Angela McNew, said to the AP. “People think Mack has been beating up on girls. The girls he wrestles with, they are tough. It has more to do with skill and discipline than strength.”
3. Beggs Began His Transition From Girl to Boy in 2015
According to his Facebook page, Beggs began posting about his transition in October 2015. He revealed he was undergoing testosterone treatments. In one video during that time period, Beggs said: “Everything is great. The message I’m trying to send, the overall universal message I would say to y’all is don’t give up and don’t give up on yourself because you don’t know when you’ll find yourself.”
Before Beggs began his transition, he was struggling with gender dysphoria, spent time in a mental hospital and even contemplated suicide. Before starting his transition he went by his birth name of Mackenzie. “Four years ago, I was in a really bad place because I wasn’t myself,” Beggs told USA Today.
4. Beggs Is Gaining Notoriety In The LGBT World
In October 2017, Mack Beggs was honored at the Fourth Annual Athlete Ally Action Awards in New York City. Athlete Ally is a nonprofit organization focused on fostering inclusive athletic environments and mobilizing the athletic community to champion LGBT equality.
“Mack’s story has inspired people across the country to stand up and speak out for the full dignity and protection of the LGBT community,” said Athlete Ally executive director Hudson Taylor. “We’re proud to help lift up Mack’s story and honor someone – who at just 17 years old – is so bravely living his authentic life and fighting for the protection of the LGBT community.”
5. Beggs’ Legal Guardian Is His Grandmother
Nancy Beggs is Mack’s legal guardian, according to the Washington Post. In 2017, during the media frenzy of Mack’s first state championship victory, the school tried to keep things as calm as possible, asking Nancy to decline media interviews. “School put a safety net on us,” Nancy told the Washington Post. During the meet, Mack would warmup away from the public eye, and when it was his turn to wrestle, “he jogged in from a tunnel unused by most other participants and trailed by his wrestling coach and grandmother,” according to the Washington Post.
The rest of Mack’s family wasn’t far behind. Fox 4 Dallas reporter Allison Harris tweeted out a picture of Begg’s parents watching his 2017 victory from the stands while wearing shirts that read, “Mack Attack.” It has not been reported as to why Mack’s grandmother is his legal guardian and not his parents.
Source: Heavy Sports