Trans man forced to compete in women’s wrestling feels like he’s ‘winning and losing at the same time’
A young trans athlete in Texas has spoken out about being forced to compete in women’s wrestling competitions by anti-trans state laws.
Mack Beggs, a high school wrestler, tells his story as part of Changing the Game, a new Hulu documentary that focuses on three young trans athletes.
Described as a talented and hard-working athlete, Mack has won state championships in women’s wrestling – but says this has come at the cost of his own mental health. The documentary shows the cruel irony of crowds heckling him, while parents and spectators attack him for competing in a category he himself doesn’t want to be in.
“It feels like I’m winning,” Mack says. “But it also feels like I’m losing at the same time.”
Texas’s University Interscholastic League (UIL) requires high school wrestlers to compete on the team according to the gender marker on their birth certificate. Mack has faced serious issues because of this, including a 2017 lawsuit filed by a parent attempting to ban him from competing.
He won the girls’ state championships twice after that, despite wanting to be allowed to compete against men and despite the fact that he is taking testosterone as part of his transition.
Alongside Mack in Changing The Game are Sarah and Andraya, both of whom are allowed to compete in women’s sports.
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But Sarah, a New Hampshire cross-country skier, admits she sometimes “backs off” during races so as not to cause trouble.
“We’re not the monsters they make trans people out to be,” Sarah says. “Would it be fair for me to be competing on the boys team? No. I am a girl, that’s who I am.”
“I deserve equal rights,” she adds.
Andraya, a Connecticut runner, has faced vile anti-trans backlash for competing girls sports – including a lawsuit brought by the anti-LGBT+ right-wing Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom that is trying to prevent her and other trans girls from competition.
In April 2021, a federal judge threw out the case saying there was no longer any dispute to solve, given that Andraya and her classmate Terry had long since graduated.