Mack Beggs won his second straight high school wrestling state title this weekend, which for any other teen would have been a significant accomplishment.
But for the transgender teen, it was also a source of controversy as his title win in the girls’ division was met with a chorus of boos from the crowd and allegations that his testosterone treatments give him an unfair advantage over the other wrestlers.
As the Charlotte Observer noted, Beggs is a senior at Euless Trinity High School outside of Dallas and is in the process of transitioning from female to male. Part of that treatment includes taking steroids, which family members said is needed to help with the transition and not a performance enhancer.
Though Beggs had expressed a desire to compete against other boys, the Texas public high school rules require that an athlete competes based on the gender listed on their birth certificate. That kept Beggs in the girls’ 110-pound division, where he has yet to be beaten. Beggs went 56-0 in his junior year and went undefeated again this season en route to another title this weekend.
Some of his competitors have simply backed out. In the regional tournament leading up to the state tournament, two opponents chose to forfeit rather than risking injury against Beggs, the Charlotte Observer reported.
The win was met with plenty of controversy. The crowd booed Beggs when he won in a dramatic finish, narrowly avoiding a pin in the final seconds to preserve a win. Many had claimed that Beggs had an unfair advantage because of his steroid use, and the Texas state legislature even tried to pass a bill last year that would have prevented him from competing, the Charlotte Observer noted.
But while Mack Beggs has earned plenty of critics, there are also a number of people celebrating the big win for the transgender teen. Others have stood behind the teen and noted the difficulty of the situation he had been placed in due to state rules.
The Advocate, a magazine reporting on LGBTQ issues, noted that Mack Beggs faced a “Catch-22” situation where he was barred from competing against boys, as he wished to do, and instead was relegated to compete in the girls’ division where his presence was sure to cause controversy. But the report noted that Beggs is looking forward to college next year, where he will be able to compete against men.