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Trans wrestler left ‘in a very dark place’ after being forced to compete against women

Maggie Baska March 25, 2021
Mack Beggs Yahoo News

(Yahoo News)

Transgender former wrestler Mack Beggs, who was forced to compete against women in high school, says his mental health is still recovering from his experiences.

Beggs gained international attention in 2017 and 2018 after he won multiple wrestling titles in Texas while being forced to compete in the female category. In 2017, Beggs won the Texas girl’s state championship in the 110-pound weight class, and he maintained his undefeated record as he won his second title match the following year.

Beggs had wanted to compete against men while wrestling in high school, but a state ban meant trans athletes were forced to compete on teams that aligned with the gender on their birth certificate. He was also subjected to a lawsuit from a parent who wanted to ban him from competing. The lawsuit was dropped, and the parent said he had changed his stance on Beggs’ right to compete.

Mack Beggs told Yahoo News that he struggled with mental ill-health following his experiences. He said he was left in a “very dark place” as he entered his freshman year of college.

“I had to seek out help, and I’m so glad I did that,” Beggs said.

He said the experience took a huge “toll” on him. He explained: “I think we need to have resources in place for other [trans] kids who are in those positions.”

Beggs spoke out amid a spate of bills attacking trans inclusion in sport. North Carolina introduced on Tuesday (23 March) a bill that would ban trans youth from competing in sports teams that don’t match up with the gender listed on their birth certificate. Local news station ABC 11 said North Carolina is now the 30th state to introduce such legislation.

Beggs said he thinks it’s “disgusting” that so many bills have been introduced, with many being supported by anti-LGBT+ conservative groups. He added it was “revolting” and “honestly appalling” that such groups are trying to pass the bills as sports is a vital “outlet for kids”.

Beggs also argued such legislation could end up hurting cis women alongside LGBT+ people participating in sports.

“If you are a transgender athlete and you have got to be checked medically, so if somebody doesn’t look like a woman, it’s going to be targeting queer and LGBT women or non-binary people, I think that’s a huge issue,” Mack Beggs explained.

More: trans athletes

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