Mack Beggs just wants to wrestle, but due to state regulations, the Transgender teen’s win in the girls’ league sparked debate.

Sharing credit for the gold medal with his teammates, the 17-year-old Beggs won the girls’ 6A state wrestling title in the 110-pound weight class on Saturday. His 12-2 win over Chelsea Sanchez, giving him a record of 56-0, was met by cheers dampened by boos.

Gender policy causes concern

According to the University Interscholastic League (UIL), students’ gender is determined by their birth certificates, and they are not permitted to compete against other genders.

Beggs’ birth certificate defines him as female, which places him in the girls’ league against sixteen girls in his bracket. A change to his birth certificate would involve a court order granting a request for a sex change.

An attorney is suing the UIL to modify the policy to either allow Beggs to wrestle in the boys’ league or to keep him from wrestling in the state tournaments altogether. Many agree that Beggs, who is very passionate about wrestling, should be permitted to compete against other boys.

Testosterone as an unfair advantage?

The fact that Mack Beggs, as a transgender junior at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas, has been taking testosterone as part of his transition for over a year and a half has brought about concerns that the hormone is giving him an advantage over girls in the sport.

The testosterone has changed Beggs’ physique, which he documented on social media.

Critics claim that taking testosterone is akin to supplementing with performance-enhancing steroids. The school board, however, has found the amount of testosterone Beggs is taking to be acceptable.

Not only have all Beggs’ opponents lost to him, but some girls have also forfeited their matches because they find the situation unfair.

Wrestling with policy

Several of the parents who take issue with the policy don’t blame Beggs for wanting to wrestle. Additionally, potential changes to policy might allow Mack Beggs to compete against boys. Beggs has stated that he hasn’t wanted to challenge the policy out of fear of losing the opportunity to wrestle altogether.

Media outlets have pointed out the relationship to the potential new Texas law that could further affect transgender people. Legislation similar to North Carolina's HB2, called the “bathroom bill,” is under consideration. The bill seeks to restrict the use of bathrooms based on gender in public schools and other government buildings, impacting trans people whose gender does not match their birth certificates.

Federal protections for transgender students using bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity are also under attack by President Trump’s administration.