Seventeen-year-old Mack Beggs is a wrestling champion in Texas who has been receiving criticism for winning the girls’ high school title, though he is a transgender boy.
Beggs is not competing in the girls’ division by choice. The state’s University Interscholastic League requires all athletes to compete according to the gender on their birth certificate. In an interview with ESPN Wednesday, Beggs made it clear that he doesn’t want to be wrestling girls; he wants to be put in the boys’ division “because I’m a guy. It just makes more sense.”
During several competitions, Beggs says that girls he was competing against were forced to forfeit by their parents, though they wished to wrestle Beggs. “And I was like, ‘Are you being serious?’ Like you’re going to let ignorance take over your daughter wrestling no matter who it is?” Beggs told ESPN. He added that because of these forced forfeits, he has regrets about the win in some respects, saying, “I feel like I did not earn that regional medal.”
Obviously, transphobic parents who insisted their kids forfeit don’t think so either. Beggs was met with boos from some when receiving his medal. Despite his feelings about not getting to fight every match, Beggs has perspective on the work he put in and is not listening to all the criticism:
“I mean, I’ve been winning before when I didn’t have testosterone, but now that, you know, I’m actually winning winning, people want to go crazy,” Beggs said. He added that some people “just automatically want to call me a cheater.”
“Like that kind of makes me feel like they don’t care about my training or the work that I put in,” he continued. “Because I’ve been to [state] twice. And it’s not like I’m just doing this because I want to like call myself a boy and just dominate all these girls. What do I get out of that? I don’t get anything out of that.”
As for the boos, the Guardian reports that Beggs has said it doesn’t bother him anymore. “Honestly, I was like, ‘You know what? Boo all you want, because you’re just hating,” said Beggs, “You hating ain’t going to get me and you nowhere, and I’m just going to keep on doing what I’ve got to do.’ That’s why I’ve always had that mentality. If you’re going to be negative, you know, whatever, that’s not going to faze me.”