Transgender wrestler wins Texas
championship for girls
Send a link to a friend
[February 27, 2017]
(Reuters) - Mack Beggs, a
17-year-old high school wrestler who is transitioning from female to
male, took home gold in the 110-weight class of the Texas girls state
championship after the state refused to allow the student to compete
Beggs, his family and many of his opponents wanted him to wrestle
against male wrestlers, but state sport regulations require athletes to
compete according to their birth gender.
Some of the wrestler's opponents have said Beggs had an unfair advantage
among girls because of the testosterone he is taking as a part of his
The University Interscholastic League, which governs school sports in
Texas, said the state's education code allows the use of a banned drug
such as steroids if it "is prescribed by a medical practitioner for a
valid medical purpose."
Beggs' win came days after the Trump administration revoked landmark
guidance to public schools letting transgender students use the
bathrooms of their choice, reversing a signature initiative of former
Democratic President Barack Obama.
Reversing the guidelines stands to inflame passions in the conflict in
the United States between believers in traditional values and those
advocating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
Beggs, a junior at Trinity High School in the Dallas suburb of Euless,
had a 52-0 record ahead of the weekend tournament and was favored to win
the high school championship in his weight class. On Saturday, he beat
Chelsea Sanchez 12-2 to earn the championship.
After his victory Beggs told reporters he wanted the focus of Saturday's
championship to be on his teammates rather than him.
"That's honestly what the spotlight should've been on, my teammates,"
said Beggs, while backed by his team and wearing a gold medal around his
"The hard work that I put in the practice room with them beside me ...
that's what the spotlight should have been on ... because I would not be
here without them," Beggs said.
About a week ago, Beggs won a regional championship after a female
wrestler from a Dallas-area high school forfeited the final.
[to top of second column]
High school athlete Mack Beggs, a transgender boy, competes in a
state championship girls wrestling competition, in Cypress, Texas,
U.S., February 24, 2017. Courtesy of Eric Schell/Handout via REUTERS
The parent of another girl who wrestles for the same Dallas-area
high school had filed a lawsuit trying to block Beggs, saying his
use of testosterone increases his strength and could pose a risk to
Nancy Beggs, the wrestler's grandmother and guardian, told the
Dallas Morning News after the forfeit in the regional championship
match: "Today was not about their students winning. Today was about
bias, hatred and ignorance."
His grandmother could not be reached for comment by Reuters on
According to transathlete.com, which provides information for
transgender athletes, Texas is one of seven U.S. states with
policies it sees as discriminatory against transgender athletes.
The day after the championship, Beggs was both praised and
criticized on social media.
"Any other person taking steroids would have been disqualified on
the spot. But since this person wants to change from a girl to a boy
it makes it ok?," wrote Facebook user Russell Parks.
"Rock on, Mack! Reach for your dreams," responded another, named
(Reporting by Chris Michaud and Jon Herskovitz; Additional reporting
by Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Jeffrey
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.