Mack Beggs is a competitive wrestler at Euless Trinity High School, and also is a biological female more than a year into the process of “transitioning” to male. Beggs just won his third consecutive girls’ wrestling tournament victory in the 110-pound weight class. I’ll call him “he” because that is what the student wants to be called, and he, in great part due to the male steroid treatment he has been undergoing, is now 55-0 on the season. All of his opponents have been high school girls who are not taking steroids, and unlike Mack, do not intend to become, for all intents and purposes, male.
While Beggs says he wants to wrestle in the boy’s competitions, the University Interscholastic League rules use an athlete’s birth certificate to determine gender, a measure that makes sense in most cases, just not this one. (See: The Ethics Incompleteness Principle) The rules prohibit girls from wrestling in the boys division and vice versa, and rules are rules. If you are a rigid, non-ethically astute bureaucrat, you follow rules even when you know that they will lead to unjust, absurd results, like Mack’s 55-0 record in matches.
The rules also say that taking performance enhancing drugs like the testosterone that has given Beggs greater muscle mass and strength than his female competitors is forbidden, but UIL provides an exception for drugs prescribed by a doctor for a valid medical purpose. After a review of Beggs’ medical records, the body granted him permission to compete while taking male steroids—compete as a girl, that is. Rules are rules!
One athletic director, after watching Beggs crush a weaker female competitor who left the ring in tears, asked for his name not to be used as he commented to reporters, and opined that “there is cause for concern because of the testosterone,” and added, “I think there is a benefit.”
Really going out on a limb there, sport, aren’t you?
Here, let me help.
This is an unfair, foolish, completely avoidable fiasco brought about by every party involved not merely failing to follow ethical principles and common sense, but refusing to.
The rule allowing athletes to compete while using performance enhancing drugs if they have been prescribed by a doctor is incompetent. Undoubtedly it was put in place to allow students diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder to compete despite the advantages that some of the drugs used to combat the problem provide. Testosterone should never have been included in the rule, to which I should add, “Duh.” If the purpose is to ensure the integrity of the sport, the fact that foreign substances that give one competitor an unfair advantage over another are being used for medical reasons ought to be subordinate to the fact that they give one competitor an unfair advantage over another. The cultural delusion that the majority must be harmed in order that an unfortunate minority not have to suffer from life’s inconveniences, handicaps and injustices has been advancing for decades, and this is an excellent illustration of where it inevitably leads: chaos, injustice, confusion, and bitterness.
It should be such an easy, obvious call. Sure, young lady, you can take Testosterone for to transition to maleness, but if you do, you can’t compete in high school sports, because testosterone will give you an unfair advantage. Sorry. Your choice. Life is tough sometimes: it’s wrestling, or chest hair. Any other decision would be unfair to the other students and athletes.
But no. The administrators fear Title IX lawsuits, and attacks by transgender advocates, and screeds from columnists and journalists. Ethical decision-making often requires courage and sacrifice. These administrators can muster neither, nor common sense. A corollary to “Bias makes you stupid” is “Fear of being called biased makes you even more stupid, and a weenie too.”
Mack, meanwhile, should have come to the ethical decision not to wrestle as a boy or a girl on his own, out of respect for other students and a comprehension of fairness. He knew that competing under these conditions would destroy the competition and cause controversy and unhappiness, and if he didn’t, an adult or authority figure should have explained it to him. But transgender, transgendered and transgendering people are Kings of the World right now, just like Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as sacred cows and third rails, and woe be to the teacher, administrator or elected official who questions their right to inconvenience anyone they choose. Besides, who doesn’t want to be 55-0?
Cheating? It’s not cheating: the rules say so. It would be cheating if I had an extra 20 pounds of male muscle in my 110 pounds if I took the exact same drugs to win wrestling matches against weaker girls whose natural bodies are being flooded with estrogen, but I don’t. I have that extra muscle because of drugs that were legally prescribed.
No, son, it’s still cheating. That’s called a rationalization, #5, The Compliance Dodge, just one of many involved here, from the Rationalization List:
4. Marion Barry’s Misdirection, or “If it isn’t illegal, it’s ethical.”
5. The Compliance Dodge.
11.A “I deserve this!” or “Just this once!”
13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause”
18. Hamm’s Excuse: “It wasn’t my fault.”
23. Woody’s Excuse: “The heart wants what the heart wants”
24. Juror 3’s Stand (“It’s My Right!”)
28. The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times.”
30. The Prospective Repeal: “It’s a bad law/stupid rule”
32. The Unethical Role Model: “He/She would have done the same thing”
39. The Pioneer’s Lament, or “Why should I be the first?”
41 A. Popeye’s Excuse, or “I am what I am.”
42. The Hillary Inoculation, or “If he/she doesn’t care, why should anyone else?”
45. The Abuser’s License: “It’s Complicated”
46. Zola’s Rejection, or “Don’t point fingers!”
48. Ethics Jiu Jitsu, or “Haters Gonna Hate!
50A. Narcissist Ethics , or “I don’t care”
53. Tessio’s Excuse, or “It’s just business”
58. The Golden Rule Mutation, or “I’m all right with it!”
59. The Ironic Rationalization, or “It’s The Right Thing To Do”
60.A. Barry Bonds’ Pass: “He didn’t need to cheat.”
All Mack needed in order to see the ethical path was The Golden Rule. Back when he was all-girl, physiologically speaking (and it is times like this that I sorely miss the blog’s expert on all matters transgender, Zoe Brain, who was apparently a casualty of Trump Derangement Syndrome), how would Mack have felt if she was forced to compete with a pumped -up, male-muscled transitioning wrestler?
Mack’s parents should have guided him through this process, but they did not have the ethical skills or objectivity to do so.
As for Mack’s competitors who were praised for the courage to wrestle a near-male k in the high school wrestling equivalent of pitting 110 fashion models against, say, the late pro wrestling star Chyna…
…someone should have explained that the truly courageous conduct would have been to forfeit, and face the social justice warrior backlash for insisting on the sport’s integrity over special privileges for the gender-challenged. Unanimous refusal to wrestle Mack would have rendered his string of victories hollow, and required responsible rule changes.
To sum it all up, everyone failed to think ethically and act ethically, rendering the wrestling competitions unfair and meaningless, preventing dedicated female high school athletes from having the chance at winning that all athletes deserve, and creating yet another example of applauded tyranny by an entitled minority, in which compassion for one creates injustice for many.
The transgender student got to compete, however, and isn’t that all that really matters?