Mack Beggs and the future of transgender athletes

Photo from The Independent

Controversy has arisen in the past several weeks regarding the rights of transgender athletes. In February, a transgender boy won the Texas Girls State Wrestling Championship. Mack Beggs raised his hand in victory, only to be met by an angry crowd, booing his victory. Many believe that it’s unfair that Beggs, who was designated female at birth, was allowed to compete in the girls’ division due to the fact that he was prescribed testosterone to help his transition. However, according to Texas state law, athletes have to compete in the division that correlates with the sex indicated on their birth certificate. Beggs had no choice but to compete in the girls’ division, even though he identifies as a boy.

Beggs has stated that he takes the lowest possible dose of testosterone he can to avoid being deemed a “cheater.” He faced backlash in the form of a lawsuit from many qualifiers who attempted to not only disqualify the athlete, but to also get him banned from the sport.

Beggs has stated that he desperately wants to compete in the boys division and has hired legal counsel to help overrule the current law. Beggs attributes his success and victory not to testosterone, but to work ethic.

“I have worked my tail off to be where I am now,” he said, “This victory was also contributed to the hard work of my teammates. This was a team effort.”

Beggs further opened up and spoke about challenges he has faced as a transgender individual, saying that at one point he was even put on suicide watch and entered rehab.

Mack Beggs is not the only transgender individual who has been affected by anti-transgender legislation. South African Olympic sprinter Caster Semenya faced backlash after winning the 2016 gold medal in the 800 meter event. It was later noted that Semenya was undergoing gender testing. She was taking high doses of testosterone to help her transition to a male.

“I dealt with suicide for many years and faced hatred from my family,” Semenya said.

Out of the 700,000 transgender individuals in the United States, 41 percent attempt suicide. This number is 25 percent higher than the overall suicide rate.

Beggs’ victory and story does not just bring up issues in our society regarding the rights of transgender people, but it also raises the question of how the current presidency will affect transgender rights. President Donald Trump has expressed his plan to leave transgender rights to the discretion of individual states. Many argue that this hinders people like Beggs. However, Beggs has voiced his hope for the future of transgender rights and encourages all transgender individuals to never be afraid.

Beggs hopes that his story reaches and inspires as many people as possible.

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