When you look at the picture above of Mack Beggs, What do you see?
I know what I see. A wrestler. An athlete. A champion. A boy.
Yet the State of Texas demands that you see a girl. The state demands that Beggs see a girl in the mirror. The high school athletic associations try to force him to be a girl.
Simply because Beggs has “female” on his birth certificate, he has been prevented all wrestling season from competing against the boys. The transgender young man is on the girls team for Trinity High School, just outside of Dallas. Born in a girl’s body, he has transitioned to male throughout his life and — here’s the kicker — is taking testosterone supplements to aid his physical transition.
Beggs’ story was the subject of a powerful profile and follow-up column over the weekend in the Dallas Morning News. The pieces point to the ridiculous rules Texas and its interscholastic organizations force on transgender athletes.
When he won a regional competition last week, all hell broke loose. Carrying an undefeated season into the meet, he won some matches on the mat; Other matches he won by forfeit by female athletes who refused to wrestle him. (Update: A week later, Beggs won the state title in his weight class).
He should have never had to win a match by forfeit, and he should have never been forced to wrestle against girls. As a boy, Beggs should have been allowed to compete against other boys all along. His high school does have a boys wrestling team.
Yet because state law is so adamant about a few letters on a birth certificate, Beggs has wrestled the girls. After all, participation — finding a way to allow athletes to compete — is the utmost importance in high school athletics. Every student-athlete must be allowed to find their way into competition. If this is what the state of Texas demands, then that’s what he’s done.
There is no blame to be placed on Beggs for any of this controversy that has erupted around him. None. Teenagers don’t get to write policy, they have to live by it. Beggs is forced to participate on a girls team because the outdated Texas policy is written by politicians who refuse to accept that people can truly be transgender.
As trans athlete and activist Chris Mosier posted perfectly and succinctly on Twitter:
High school athletic association policies for trans athletes should allow for participation by gender identity, not by birth certificate.— The Chris Mosier (@TheChrisMosier) February 20, 2017
Backward, oudated laws that force transgender people to live by their gender assigned at birth leave everyone susceptible to problems.
Yet this has become the rallying cry of many political conservatives. “If you’re born a girl, you’re a girl.” They need to keep this one out of this restroom and that one out of that locker room.
This time, it all backfired. The trans boy — whose testosterone regimen is within state policy as it is medicinal and approved by doctors — was forced to wrestle girls and he beat them over and over again. He beat them every single time they were willing to step onto the mat with him this season.
Now some of those same people are crying foul. I’m not going to link to their disgusting commentary here, but I’ve seen various conservative loudmouths call Beggs’ victories unfair and claim he is taking advantage of being born a girl.
No, he’s not. These close-minded transphobes are the very reason he is not competing against other boys.
We’ll be cheering Beggs along as he competes this weekend.
Hopefully the adults in Texas will start addressing the issue of trans athletes as adults. If they do, all of this nonsense about SB6 and forcing people to use incorrect bathrooms may get an injection of adulthood too.