Mack Beggs is a transgender teenage boy in Texas and a wrestler. Under insanely outdated and silly rules in the state, Beggs must compete in meets in the girls division because that was the gender on his birth certificate. It’s engendered sympathy for him even from a parent of a girl he beat.
"Mack wants to wrestle boys and he'll never be recognized as a boy because of the birth certificate in the state of Texas," Lisa Latham said after Beggs' 18-7 victory over her daughter Taylor in the 110-pound class in the first round of the state meet Friday. "And female wrestlers don't have a chance."
This is a lousy situation for Beggs, who wants to compete with boys. It’s also lousy for girls like Taylor who will have little chance against a boy bigger and stronger. All it does it point out how stupid and ignorant Texas sports officials are to keep a rule requiring student-athletes to compete in the gender division listed on their birth certificate.
Beggs has not lost yet this season and is in the state championships. Parents such as Lisa Latham have complained that Beggs has an unfair advantage because he is allowed to take testosterone while transitioning. But the use of the steroid was OKd by state high school officials as a medical necessity for him. Parents complaining about this should train their anger on the policy, not on a teenager who simply wants to compete. Do they think he should just not wrestle anybody?
Beggs is facing intense media coverage this weekend. “When the match neared, cameras circled around Beggs as he warmed up,” the Dallas Morning News reported. “Beggs came running out of an opposite entrance just before the bout and wrestled Latham. Television cameras and media lined the match during the entire bout.”
That's Beggs in the yellow shoes. Here is the media scrum around him pic.twitter.com/cXdDnxPH3c— Michael Florek (@michaelflorek) February 24, 2017
I understand the media attention, but it is a lot for a 17-year-old to deal with. He is wisely not commenting and I hope this absurd situation leads to meaningful change for trans athletes in Texas.