Sunday, February 26, 2017

Transgender boy wins Texas girls state wrestling title amid controversy

A 17-year-old transgender boy won the Texas state girls wrestling title on Saturday in a classification he doesn't think he belongs in and amid a controversy that goes beyond being called a boy or a girl or which bathroom to use.

Namely, the use of hormone treatment in sports.

Mack Beggs has said he would rather be wrestling boys, but state policy calls for students to wrestle against the gender listed on their birth certificates meaning the junior from Euless Trinity was forced to compete as a girl.

Beggs, who reached the state tournament after two opponents forfeited, unwillingly became the pawn in a transgender controversy throughout the event after questions about whether or not his testosterone treatments — to help the transition from female to male — gave him an unfair advantage competing against girls.

The shaggy haired wrestler improved to 56-0 after beating Chelsea Sanchez 12-2 in the 110-pound weight class to go undefeated and win the championship.

The Beggs family has said he wanted to compete against boys, but University Interscholastic League deputy director Jamey Harrison, who reportedly has not addressed Beggs directly, said their organization had not received a request to change divisions from any athlete at this competition.

This debate was further pushed to the news forefront this week after the Trump administration announced an end to federal protections that allowed transgender students to use facilities based on their gender identity, leaving states and school districts to determine their own policies.

A mixture of boos and cheers filled the gymnasium as Beggs fell to his knees after his championship victory. The new state champion then hugged his coach and walked off the mat.
Beggs later broke his silence by thanking his teammates. 
"I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for my teammates," he said. "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."

Attorney Jim Baudhuin tried and failed to get injunctions before both the district and regional meets to prevent Beggs from competing while he transitions because he is taking testosterone. Baudhuin, who is the parent of a wrestler at another school who has never faced Beggs, told The Associated Press earlier this week he doesn’t blame Beggs for the situation, but faults the UIL which oversees athletics in Texas public schools.

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