The winter Olympic Games might be dominating the national spotlight at the moment, but another sports story is drawing outrage in Texas. A high school senior named Mack Beggs is on their way to claiming a second state wrestling championship in two years — but not everyone is cheering.
Beggs is transgender, and has been “transitioning” from female to male for several years. That process involves powerful performance-enhancing steroids including testosterone injections… and the juiced-up wrestler seems to be riding that edge to a string of victories in the girl’s division.
“Beggs, a senior at Euless Trinity High School, also looks different than he did last year thanks to his testosterone injections – which measure less than one milliliter each month,” explained The Daily Mail.
“He began to take steroids to transition from female to male in 2015,” the news outlet continued.
“He only has two weeks left in his high school athlete career and is so far undefeated on the mat with a record of 29 – 0. If he wins next weekend’s tournament, he will head to state competition February 23 and 24 in Cypress, Texas.”
The athlete is no doubt hoping that securing that state championship will boost college prospects. Beggs reportedly already has offers to wrestle at the university level — on men’s teams.
So, colleges certainly seem to think the transgender wrestler has the muscle and ability to compete against biological males. The steroids seem to be doing their job… but is it fair to allow one person to use performance-enhancing drugs while the girls he’s competing against are banned from using those same substances?
Many observers and other competitors sure don’t seem to think so.
“But his win came with major backlash including a lawsuit alleging ‘unfair advantage’, boos during competition, and opponents forfeiting matches,” stated The Mail.
That lawsuit wasn’t so much about protesting Beggs’ transgender status, but rather questioning both the fairness and safety of having one competitor taking steroids while their competitors cannot.
“Attorney and Dallas-area wrestling parent Jim Baudhuin filed a lawsuit seeking to keep Beggs from competing against girls last year after it became known he was using testosterone,” The Daily Mail reported.
“He alleged there was risk of injury to other wrestlers and that Beggs had an unfair advantage. The lawsuit mostly took aim at the UIL for allowing Beggs to face girls while on testosterone.”
The lawsuit was dismissed last year, based on the premise that Mack Beggs had been prescribed the testosterone by a physician. That ruling didn’t really settle the big questions, however.
Nobody seems able to answer whether it’s more fair to keep Beggs and others like him in the girl’s division, where testosterone supplementation almost certainly gives Beggs an advantage, or have him compete with other biological boys.
University Interscholastic League rules, which govern Texas high school wrestling, specify that athletes must compete based on what’s listed on their birth certificate.
One thing is clear: The entire transgender topic seems to be more of a minefield than many people want to admit, and there are issues to consider beyond just letting questioning teenagers do whatever they want.
While the confusion and frustration continues, Mack Beggs will just keep winning against girls, while claiming to be a man. Welcome to 2018.
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