The outcry started building after Mack Beggs started winning match after match in Texas' high school wrestling tournament—and once the 17-year-old from Trinity High School in Euless clinched the championship Saturday, the controversy reached its peak. NBC News reports that the junior won to "cheers and jeers," the jeers from people who weren't happy that Mack—a transgender student who was born female and is now transitioning to male—was competing in the girls' 110-pound weight class due to state league rules, which require athletes to compete per the gender listed on one's birth certificate. This despite the fact that Mack identifies as male (and prefers wrestling boys), opponents dropped out of matches beforehand, and one parent attempted to stop him from competing against girls.
Mack, who finished the season 57-0, per the AP, takes testosterone as part of his transition, and the league permits it as a "valid medical use," the Dallas Morning News reports. Parents of other wrestlers are irked by that, claiming the treatments give Mack an unfair edge. Jim Baudhuin, the parent who tried to keep Mack from the girls' tourney, says he doesn't blame the teen for the situation—"she's being forced into that position," he tells the AP, referring to Mack as a girl—but the league and the school superintendents who voted for the birth certificate rule. Destiny Dominguez, a 102-pound state champ who has wrestled Mack before, shrugs off the hubbub, telling the Morning News matches are more about "mentality," not about brute strength, and that she's never had a problem facing Mack. In a statement, Mack said he wished the focus was on his "hard work" and teammates. (Read more transgender stories.)