Transgender boy Mack Beggs wins Texas state girls' wrestling title amid controversy


A transgender teenager who identifies as a boy won a controversial Texas state girls' wrestling title on Saturday.

The Mack Beggs from Trinity High School in Euless, Texas, emerged victorious amid cheers and boos with a championship clouded by criticism from those who felt that the 17-year-old junior, who is taking testosterone as he transitions from female to male, had an unfair advantage.

Beggs beat Chelsea Sanchez in a 12-2 match in the 110-pound weight class.

Beggs, who had an undefeated season on the school's girls wrestling team, says he would rather wrestle on the boys team, but is unable to due to a state policy that mandates students wrestle against those who are the same gender as listed on their birth certificates.

See photos from the match

The birth certificate policy was enacted on Aug. 1, 2016. And despite the Beggs family's call for him to compete against boys, University Interscholastic League deputy director Jamey Harrison says the school had not received a request for divisions to be changed for Saturday's competition.

But his 56-0 record for the season was not achieved the way most undefeated athlete would hope. Multiple competitors forfeited when forced to compete against Beggs.

Asked to reflect on his historic win, Beggs directed the attention away from himself.

"I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for my teammates. That's honestly what the spotlight should be on, is my teammates," Beggs said. "The hard work that I put in the practice room with them beside me, we trained every single day, every single day, and that's what the spotlight should be been on, not me."

"Hard work pays off," he said.

But parents of other wrestlers seem to think otherwise.

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"Whatever reason doesn't matter," Patti Overstreet told NBC News. "They are using something. They are stacked. They are huge, and it's not fair."

Jim Baudhuin, another parent, faults the UIL. He told the AP he filed to get an injunction to bar Beggs from wrestling while taking testosterone prior to both the district and regional meets.

"The more I learn about this, the more I realize that she's just trying to live her life and her family is, too," Baudhuin sympathized. "She's being forced into that position."

But UIL executives do not foresee a change in the policy despite criticism.

"Ninety-five percent of the school superintendents in Texas voted for the rule as it was proposed, which was to use birth certificates," Harrison said. "So any rule can be reconsidered, but ... given the overwhelming support for that rule, I don't expect it to change anytime soon."