Teen Trans­gen­der Wrestler Adds to Gen­der De­bate in US

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games -

A17-year-old­trans­gen­der­boy­completed an un­de­feated sea­son on Satur­day intheUSby­win­ningaTex­as­state­girls’ wrestling championship — an ac­com­plish­ment clouded by crit­i­cism from those who be­lieve the testos­terone he is tak­ing as he tran­si­tions from fe­male to male gave him an un­fair ad­van­tage.

The family of Mack Beggs has said he would rather be wrestling boys, but pol­icy calls for stu­dents to wres­tle against the gen­der listed on their birth cer­tifi­cates. So Beggs beat Chelsea Sanchez, 12-2, in the girls’ 110-pound weight class (50kg class) to im­prove to 56-0 and earn the state ti­tle.

Af­ter his vic­tory, Beggs fell to his knees for a mo­ment as a mix­ture of cheers and boos rained down. He hugged his coach and left the mat. Beggs, who reached the state cham­pi­onships af­ter two op­po­nents for­feited, was dogged through­out the tour­na­ment by ques­tions about whether his testos­terone treat­ments had made him too strong to wres­tle fairly against girls.

He pinned Kai­lyn Clay to reach the fi­nal. Beggs slammed Clay onto the mat and pinned her for the win. They shared a long hug be­fore an of­fi­cial raised Beggs’s arm to sig­nal vic­tory, and he left the mat. Clay’s coaches shouted to re­porters that she did not have per­mis­sion to talk to them af­ter her loss. Both of her par­ents de­clined to com­ment.

Beggs’scham­pi­onshipvic­to­rycomes at a cru­cial mo­ment in the de­bate over gen­der all over the world. Last week, theTrumpad­min­is­tra­tio­nan­nounced an end to fed­eral pro­tec­tions that al­lowed trans­gen­der stu­dents to use fa­cil­i­ties based on their gen­der iden­tity.

Jim Baud­huin, a lawyer who is the par­ent of a wrestler who has never facedBeggs,triedun­suc­cess­ful­ly­to­get in­junc­tions­be­fore­both­thedis­tric­tand re­gionalmeetsi­nanat­tempt­to­pre­vent Beggs from com­pet­ing.

Baud­huin said this month that he did not blame Beggs for the sit­u­a­tion, but in­stead faulted the Uni­ver­sity In­ter­scholas­tic League, which over­sees ath­let­ics. “She’s just try­ing to live her life and her family is, too,” Baud­huin said. “She’s be­ing forced into that po­si­tion.”

De­spite crit­i­cism, UIL ex­ec­u­tives did not en­vi­sion a change in pol­icy.

Mack Beggs, 17, is 56-0 this sea­son

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