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17-year-old wrestler Mack Beggs speaks to the media after winning the Texas girls' state wrestling championship. (YouTube).

Controversial win

Transgender teen, prohibited from competing on boys’ wrestling team, wins girls’ title

By WITW Staff on February 27, 2017

Mack Beggs, a 17-year-old from Texas, finished an undefeated season on Saturday by winning the state wrestling title in his weight class. But his victory has been wracked with controversy, because Beggs, a transgender boy, won the girls’ title.

Beggs had not wanted to compete with female wrestlers, ESPN reports. He was barred from the boys’ team by a state policy that requires student athletes to wrestle with the gender listed in on their birth certificates.

Throughout the tournament, student athletes and their parents expressed concerns that Beggs’ testosterone treatments would give him an unfair advantage. The father of one female wrestler went as far as to sue the University Interscholastic League, which oversees athletics in Texas schools and enacted the birth certificated policy.

“To me, this is a complete abject failure of leadership and accountability from the people who regulate sports in Texas,” the father, attorney James Baudhuin, told The Washington Post. “They’re doing wrong by Mack, and not just these 15 girls but all the other girls [he] wrestled all year.”

The controversy has erupted at a fraught moment, as politicians and activists face off over the rights of transgender students. Just last week, President Trump rescinded federal protections that allowed transgender public school students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Beggs, however, sought to put all contention behind him after his victory, deflecting attention to his teammates. “I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my teammates,” he said. That’s honestly what the spotlight should be on, is my teammates.” Watch the full interview with Beggs below.

Read the full story at ESPN.


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