A transgender wrestler beat all the girls for a state title in Texas over the weekend, sparking controversy.
Mack Beggs, 17, was born female and is transitioning to male but wrestled in the girls division, according to ABC News. His win on Saturday put the finishing touches on an undefeated season.
Some of those who attended the state competition thought the testosterone Beggs is currently taking for his transition from female to male gave him a clear advantage over the girls in the tournament, according to The Associated Press.
Despite the criticism, Beggs tried to remain positive following his state title victory.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my teammates,” Beggs said, according to ABC News. “That’s honestly what the spotlight should have been on is my teammates. The hard work that I put in in the practice room with them, beside me – we trained hard every, single day. Every, single day and that’s where the spotlight should have been on. Not me. All of these guys. Because I would not be here without them.”
Beggs wanted to compete with the boys, but Texas has a policy that wouldn’t allow him to because he was still classified as a female on his birth certificate, the AP noted.
The University Interscholastic League, which makes decisions in matters related to Texas public school sports, put the birth certificate policy into effect in the beginning of August.
“Nothing that has happened at this year’s wrestling championships has the UIL reconsidering its rules because quite frankly we don’t believe that any issues being reported on are really a product of UIL rules,” said Jamey Harrison, UIL deputy director, according to the AP.
Attorney Jim Baudhim tried to get a ruling approved prior to the wrestling tournaments that would have prevented Beggs from competing while in his transition phase, but that backfired on him, ABC News noted.
Baudhim says Beggs is not the one at fault here, but it’s the UIL instead that should be receiving criticism.
“The more I learn about this, the more I realize that she’s just trying to live her life and her family is, too,” Baudhuin said, according to the AP. “She’s being forced into that position. Who knows, through discovery we may find out that’s not the case. But every indication is, the way the winds are going now, the blame rests with the UIL and the superintendents.”
Beggs finished his wrestling season with a perfect record of 56-0.
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