Wrestling Rights: Transgender wrestler receives backlash after winning state title

Published on: March 10, 2017

Filled Under: Beyond Our Walls, News, Opinion, Our Voices, Showcase, Transgender Student Issues

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On Feb. 25th, 17 year old athlete Mack Beggs Beggs became the first transgender boy to ever win a state wrestling title. However, he was forced to compete against girls, despite asking to compete against boys. Beggs received major backlash for the win. Patti Overstreet, mother of a wrestler in the boys division accused Beggs of cheating, going as far as to misgender him.

Beggs was unable to wrestle with boys due to the UIL regulations that state that the gender on competitors birth certificate determine who they are allowed to compete against in sports. In order for Beggs to be able to compete against other boys he would have to take it to court and be issued an updated birth certificate that states that he is legally a male.

Both at the competition and after, Beggs received negative comments because of his gender identity. Many parents argued that his testosterone injections gave him an unfair advantage, claiming that they made him stronger than his female opponent. Many even booed Beggs after his big win.

Regardless of what division he competed in,, as a transgender individual, Beggs was not free of harsh comments he would receive. Competing against girls earned him negative remarks from many, who said that it wasn’t fair that he was wrestling girls. On the other hand, if he were to wrestle cisgender boys, he would be told something that many transgender boys are told: he’s not a ‘real boy’, and that he’s just a girl. So how can he do something he loves if he gets hate for it no matter what?

With the way things are going for the transgender community under the Trump administration, it is a time to be fearful. Transgender people are slowly getting their freedom and rights taken away from them. The problems transgender people face go beyond the bathroom and the locker room. Transgender people are murdered for expressing themselves in public. There are bigger problems than just the desire to perform a basic human right such as use the restroom.

Mack Beggs’ experience is a small part of how the transgender community is targeted. Within the first couple of months of 2017, over 7 transgender women have been murdered. In 2016 27 transgender people were killed, making it one of the deadliest years for the transgender community in history. Experiencing transphobia in America kills. It’s not just something as small as using the bathroom or changing in the appropriate locker room , it’s a matter of life and death.

 

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