ESPN ’30 for 30′ Doc Celebrates Transgender Wrestler Mack Beggs

Mack Beggs
Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News via AP

ESPN recently debuted a documentary celebrating the high school wrestling career of Mack Beggs, the teenager who was born a girl, but transitioned to a boy and who won all his female wrestling titles after beginning a regime of testosterone treatments.

ESPN released the “story of struggle” of high school wrestler Mack Beggs in a 30-minute feature entitled Mack Wrestles.

Beggs, a 17-year-old transgender boy from Euless, Texas, became national news after winning the Texas state girls wrestling championship in 2017. The title capped off a 57-0, undefeated high school wrestling season.

Beggs wanted to wrestle in the boy’s category despite being born a girl, but Texas rules for high school wrestling requires students to wrestle under the gender that appears on their birth certificates. Beggs is a girl claiming to be a boy, so state rules required competition among girls.

But controversy arose because Beggs was taking testosterone treatments to facilitate a “transition” to a male. Critics said that the testosterone gave Beggs a significant edge over girls in the ring. And Beggs’s undefeated record lent credence to that criticism.

The 2018 season was no different for Beggs, who was still required to wrestle in the girl’s category. By the end of the 2018 season, passions were so high that Beggs was booed for defeating a girl to advance to the state championships at the UIL state tournament in Cypress, Texas.

After graduating last year, Beggs signed with Life University in Georgia and is finally set to wrestle as a male. However, the student has not started competing as of yet because of transgender surgery.

“There’s a lot that happened that not a lot of people know about,” Beggs said recently about the documentary. “Transactivism is starting to blow up, and people are starting to pay more attention. People are really starting to change, and I have high hopes.”

In an interview ahead of the release of the documentary, Beggs said there are no regrets.

“It’s kind of hard to see in a sense because of ways it can by interpreted now,” Beggs said “At the moment I was going through all of it then it was a blur because I was most focused on what was happening to me. Looking back on it, I saw a moment and say ‘That was huge.’ I definitely don’t regret any of it, though.”

Beggs says he has dreams of becoming an Olympic wrestler in the men’s category, but that seems a distant dream since he will not compete during his freshman year in college, and maybe not even his sophomore year due to the transgender surgery.

But the student is proud of all the transgender activism.

“Yes, it’s been a sense of healing, and it’s giving me some direction to help become a better activist and a better individual in the future,” Beggs concluded. “I never thought I would be in activism this deep, but here I am.”

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