With chills down his spine, loud cheers and deafening boos flooding his ears, high school junior, Mack Beggs stepped off of the wrestling mat with tears cascading from his eyes. Beggs had just won the University Interscholastic League Texas girls’ state wrestling championship, becoming the first ever transgender wrestler to win a state title.
For Beggs, the win didn’t come easy. Spectators around the globe discredited his hard work because they felt he had an unfair advantage due to the fact that he was taking testosterone to transition from female to male.
But Beggs should not be to blame, nor should he be the one criticized. In an interview with ESPN, Beggs said if he had his way, he would wrestle in the boy’s division.
“I’ve been winning before when I didn’t have testosterone,” Beggs said in the interview with Tisha Thompson. “But now that I’m actually winning winning, people want to go crazy. You just automatically want to call me a cheater. That kind of makes me feel like they don’t care about my training or the work that I put in.”
According to UIL rules, an athlete must compete based on the gender determined by their birth certificate, with absolutely no exception. But with students now feeling comfortable enough to be open about their gender, its time to look into amending the rules.
It is unreasonable to attack an athlete for competing according to guidelines they cannot help. Beggs is taking the minimum amount of testosterone he can to avoid having an unfair advantage, but also enough to where he is able to make the gender transition.
“I know that they want to pursue wrestling careers, and I want to pursue a wrestling career, but I also want to do it fairly,” Beggs said. “I don’t want to cheat; I don’t want to cheat. Thats not something that I do.”
Sports are designed for entertainment, not for politics. Beggs did nothing wrong in enjoying a sport that he is successful in. Gender should not play a role in deciding someone’s success or ability to compete. If there is an issue with where Beggs is competing, UIL rules should be criticized.
Throughout Ephesians four and five, Paul explains the necessity for Christians to walk in love, and walk in characteristics that are of Christ – patience, gentleness, kindness, and an eagerness to maintain unity of the Spirit and bond of peace. Regardless of where people side when it comes to the question of “tolerating” certain sexualities, God didn’t put us on this earth to bring judgement and hate. As most of us hear weekly, we all fall short of perfection. We cannot choose to justify our own sin but put down others, especially when they are blamelessly participating in athletics.
Beggs didn’t ask for infamous spotlight. He participated fairly and according to UIL rules. He worked hard at what he loved, just as each of us do daily. We cannot continue to invalidate people because of their demographics. It is time to become a society that is based on love and not legalism.