From Daily Mail: A transgender wrestler who stormed through a competition has been told he shouldn’t be allowed to wrestle women because it’s ‘cheating’.
Several people complained that 17-year-old Mack Beggs, of Texas, USA, should not be allowed to wrestle women as his testosterone treatment, which he is taking as he undergoes his transition from female to male, has made him too strong to wrestle women fairly.
But under the state’s governing policy for athletics, students must wrestle against the gender listed on their birth certificates.
On Friday, Mack Beggs was hailed the winner of the quarter-finals of the Texas state championships after beating Taylor Latham in the 110-pound class. The score was 18-7.
Ms. Latham’s mother said her daughter was wrestling someone whose body was chemically toned for strength. She said: ‘I wanted her to forfeit as a protective mum. She’s a fighter. She’s not a quitter. She’s a senior. She’s fought for the last three years to get here. She was going to see it through even though I wasn’t sharing the same opinion.’
When the match finished, Mack Beggs shook hands with Ms. Latham and then celebrated.
While many cheered the champion, others said the match was unfair. Patti Overstreet, a parent of another competitor was heard shouting from her seat: ‘That’s cheating’ and ‘Big cheater!’ She said: ‘Look at how beefed up she is. It’s because she’s taking an enhancement.
‘Whether she’s a boy, girl, wants to be purple or blue it doesn’t matter. When you’re using a drug and you’re 10 times stronger than the person you’re wrestling because of that drug that (shouldn’t be) allowed.’
Mack Beggs also beat Mya Engert 12-4 to push his record to 54-0 and leave him two victories away from a state title. He will resume competition in the semi-finals today.
On Facebook, Mack Beggs addressed the criticism. He said: ‘The thing is, we want to wrestle each other. I feel so sick and disgusted by the discrimination not by the kids, the PARENTS AND COACHES. These kids don’t care who you put in front of them to wrestle. We just want to WRESTLE. THEY are taking that away from me and from the people I’m competing with. SHARE (his post) SO WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE FOR THIS SPORT AND DISCRIMINATION!’
The controversy over Mack Beggs’ participation in the women’s sport comes at a crucial moment as the Trump administration announced an end to federal protections for transgender students. This means that states and school districts have been left to determine their own policies about whether or not transgender students should use facilities based on their identity.
In Texas, politicians are considering a bill which is similar to the controversial HB2, a law in North Carolina that prompted the NBA to move this year’s All-Star game out of that state.
If passed, the Texas version, called SB6, would require transgender people to use the bathroom of their ‘biological sex’. The University Interscholastic League (UIL), which oversees athletics in Texas public schools, enacted the birth certificate policy on Aug. 1.
Lawyer Jim Baudhuin tried and failed to get injunctions before both the district and regional competitions to prevent Mack Beggs from competing while he transitions.
Earlier this week, he said he doesn’t blame Mack Beggs for the situation, but faults the UIL. Mr. Baudhuin said: ‘The more I learn about this, the more I realize that she’s just trying to live her life and her family is, too. 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.’
Despite criticism of the policy, deputy director of the UIL, Jamey Harrison said: ‘Ninety-five percent of the school superintendents in Texas voted for the rule as it was proposed, which was to use birth certificates. ‘So any rule can be reconsidered, but given the overwhelming support for that rule, I don’t expect it to change anytime soon.’