In recent years dealing with transgender athletes has become commonplace. Each time it is met with great debate, but when it involves females it seems that it is even more controversial.
In Texas Mack Beggs won the girls state wrestling title for the second year in a row. He defeated Chelsea Sanchez in the final who was the opponent he defeated in 2017 as well to win state. Mack was formerly known as Mackenzie Beggs and began to transition from female to male after his sophomore year in high school. It didn’t take long before parents were upset that he would be competing with girls.
In Mack’s defense, he wanted to compete with boys. Unfortunately, the rules at his school stated that he had to compete with girls. Athletes had to compete according to what is stated on their birth certificate. In both years he won the state title girl wrestlers forfeited when matched up against him. Some decisions were the wrestler’s own choice and other because their parents forced them to.
Some might say that because he was born female it shouldn’t matter. The counter-argument to that by upset parents and athletes is that to transition from female to male he was to be given testosterone, in other words, steroids. In an article for the Washington Times wrestler Kayla Fitts who lost her perfect record of 52-0 to Mack at this year’s tournament semi-finals said his strength was the difference in their match. That is something she attributed to the testosterone he is taking.
Attorney Jim Badhuin who unsuccessfully filed a lawsuit on the behalf of the parents of one of the wrestlers stated that he began to show up to tournaments noticeably more masculine and was more aggressive.
Lookswise the results of the testosterone are visible on Mack.
This will always be a hot topic for people to discuss and there isn’t much in way of previous examples. The only two examples that come to mind when it comes to transgender athletes in combat sports are Falon Fox and Nong Rose. For those not familiar with either Fallon Fox was a female MMA fighter who had transitioned from male to female. She began competing in MMA in 2012, but it wasn’t until after her second fight in 2013 that it became widely known she was transgender. Fighters and fans alike were not happy about this and while she still had support is seemed most of the feedback was negative. She stopped competing in 2014 and retired with a record of 5-1. All five of her wins were by stoppage and in her one loss, she was knocked out by current UFC fighter Ashlee Evans-Smith.
Tamikka Brents who was Fox’s last pro fight stated “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right.” Brents suffered a concussion and an orbital bone fracture in the fight.
On the opposite end of the Spectrum is Nong Rose. She is a transgender Muay Thai fighter from Thailand. Born male he has been transitioning to female. She fights men and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. She is actually highly skilled and until now it has not seemed to bother anyone. Could the reason for this be that the opponents are male and not female? Or is it because in Thailand transgender people are more widely accepted than in other places around the world?
Nong Rose on the left and Fallon Fox on the right.
Regardless of the reasoning, I don’t see a solution to this happening anytime soon. I think for the most part it depends what side of the fence you are standing on and why. In the case of Mac Beggs, it is understandable why parents of other female wrestlers would be upset. Is he really to blame though or is it the system that told him he couldn’t compete with boys when he was ready and willing to do so?
What do you think about this situation? Should he have been allowed to compete with other females despite being on testosterone? Should he be forced to decide between transitioning and wanting to wrestle? There are several questions that can be asked in this situation.
You can watch the video of this years win below. Beggs is the wrestler in blue. The majority of the crowd in attendance was not happy as the boos rained down after his win.