By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)
A new documentary on Hulu from executive producer Chris Mosier, Changing the Game, shares the full stories behind three young, transgender athletes. In the face in an unprecedent rise in transphobic legislation and violence, this documentary highlights the emotional challenges faced by these young kids who are fighting for their right to simply exist. Much of this legislation targets trans youth participating in school sports, often rooted in fear, hated and stereotypes rather than science or logic. The documentary follows Texas wrestler, Mack Beggs; Connecticut runner, Andraya Yearwood; and New Hamspire’s skiier Sarah Huckman.
Mack Beggs is well known for his accomplishments competing at the Texas High School State Wrestling Championships, most notably for being a boy competing in the girl’s division. His story generated a lot of confusion regarding the whole trans athlete discussion based on his clearly masculine look in contrast to the more feminine appearance of his competitors. Unfortunately, Beggs was forced to compete in the girl’s division despite being a boy due to a Texas State Law requiring high school athletes to compete in the gender division listed on their birth certificate. Ironic given that said law was originally in place to limit the participation of transgender athletes in high school sports, primarily targeted at trans-girls. The documentary follows Begg’s story and his relationships with his grandparents, coach, and partner all of whom have shown nothing but love and supportive for his transition and desire to compete in the boy’s division.
Yearwood has been competing in the more trans-friendly state of Connecticut, but her story hasn’t been without challenge as well. Competing at the Connecticut State Track High School Championships, every race that Yearwood has won has been met with angry, middle class white women shouting angry epithets and challenging the legitimacy of her capabilities. Despite this, Yearwood continues to compete and shows us that sport is about much more than winning or losing.
We’ve covered both Mack Beggs and Andraya Yearwood in the past, but you might not have heard of Sarah Huckman. Perhaps because Huckman herself has yet to see any major wins in her skiing career and thus, has gone unnoticed so far in the standard fear mongering. She has been fiercely outspoken and inspires her community to stand up for their rights. For Huckman, she is just another girl on the ski team and her part in the film highlights that not all trans athletes are smoking the competition, most of these athletes are simply there to participate, make friends and have fun.
Changing the Game is worth the watch and is currently available on Hulu. To learn more, visit https://www.changinggamedoc.com/
Photo Credit: Superfilms!/Hulu.