The “Transitioning” Female Wrestler: A Failure Of Ethics And Common Sense

The girls wrestling champion, Matt Beggs.

The girls wrestling champion, Mack Beggs.

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?


Pointer: Althouse

Facts: Star-Telegram



36 thoughts on “The “Transitioning” Female Wrestler: A Failure Of Ethics And Common Sense

  1. Nice work, Jack. Thanks for sorting this story out for me. I wasn’t quite sure what the heck to make of it when I read it. It was just mind boggling to me.

  2. This deserves a tag for “Why Trump won.”

    As you note, most people are afraid of the PC backlash and doesn’t have the courage you do to speak out against outrageous stories like this one.

    I totally concur that every girl should have refused to wrestle him. Their record would have been the same but his wouldn’t as you note.

    None did, but you can count on 55 girls, their parents, and their friends all being quite bitter about the PC crowd. This isn’t fair, and the victims of this will remember this episode

  3. In principle, if the guy has (after the treatments) about as much testosterone as the average born-male competitor, would it not be reasonable to allow him to compete in the boys division? Of course, that approach would open up more cans of worms around how much testosterone is “normal”, do we start dividing competitors up by their levels instead of their gender, etc etc…

    • If you do that, you also have to deal with the boy transitioning to a woman who may be taking hormones but hasn’t lost all the previously acquired musculature and weight.

    • I agree, Thomas. It makes sense to allow him to wrestle on the boys’ team, and from what I understand he wouldn’t have an unfair advantage there.

      I also think Jack has a point that since the school didn’t allow this, he should have chosen not to wrestle at all. But I don’t know if I can fully hold this against him when he is taking the only option this bigoted system will allow him to follow his passion.

      I think this story reveals the inanity of social conservatives’ preoccupation with birth certificates and biological sex. Under the bathroom laws pushed by the Pence crowd, Mack would have to use the ladies’ restroom. Most of them would not be comfortable seeing someone who looks like him entering a womans’ restroom, but such is the result of their misguided concerns about “safety.”

  4. I will agree, that the athletes should have all forfeited and refused to wrestle. They could have easily justified such a decision by saying it’s not fair and unsportsmanlike conduct to participate in this rigged competition. it reminds of the whole marines training thing, when it was open to women, they lowered the standards, otherwise it’s too tough to get in. Who cares that this type of job is very demanding and not even the most able male candidates can make it through training, there is nothing sacred at the alter of social engineering.

  5. “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.”

    I was going to just thank you for this, as it is something I have been trying to say for years and have never managed to get quite right. However, having read the entire article, I thank you for the whole thing.

  6. I’m presuming that all Mack wants to be is a “Real man.”

    Someone forgot to tell him that “Real men” don’t physically beat women, and don’t brag about beating women. The male wrestling team members who desire to be buddies with take one of two views. Some are revolted by the transgender part and don’t view him as a man. Unfortunate, but there are many like that. Those that could have accepted him, those that are accepting him as male, won’t accept him because he uses his size and strength against women.

    He’s alienated his potential allies.

      • Many of the guys involved don’t like it though.

        As you note, sometimes the females win. It sucks for the guys that lose to them.

        When the guy wins, it feels somewhat of a hollow victory. Ones who gloat about winning are looked down upon.

  7. Isn’t the correct compromise here to let him compete as a boy with the drugs? I am not a doctor, but I know people who have transitioned. It is hard for me to believe that the amount of testosterone that he is taking will give him an unfair advantage over other boys who naturally possess testosterone in their systems.

    • Spartan, I don’t think so. The assumption that the steroids just allow him to “catch up” is a slippery slope that has no stops. Should a naturally slim wrestler be allowed to take just enough PEDS to get him on par with a naturally muscular one? Is it fair to permit a male wrestler to use steroids if his opponents had the advantage of better nutrition and training? It seems to me that any result that says X can compete against Y while using drug Z that Y would be prohibited from using is unfair.

      • Can’t that slippery slope be avoided by appealing to the ethics incompleteness principle? He isn’t taking the steroids to get a competitive advantage; presumably, he’s doing it for his mental health. The rule that says athletes can continue competing while taking steroids as long as they are prescribed for a medical purpose seems tailor-made for this kind of situation.

          • Lots of things give you competitive advantages in sports — training, nutrition, rich parents, genetics. But here, as Chris mentioned, the drug is to treat a condition, NOT to give a competitive advantage. I don’t see this as different from athletes that take ADHD medicine.

            I will admit that if the situation were reversed, a male transitioning to female, then I think I would question it more, because a male naturally brings more muscle mass, strength, etc. to the party. I don’t think sane people would do that here — but I can see other countries forcing young male athletes to transition.

            • I think it is similar to ADHD medicine—which baseball, for example, regards as a PED. The fact of the unfair advantage is the issue, not the reason the advantage is there. I was a member of a small Nautilus gym long ago, and got to know a young woman who was working out there while taking prescribed steroids for some medical problem, she said because the medication made her gain weight. Well, the weight training plus the steroid made her quite muscular very quickly, gaining about 15 pounds of it, and she wasn’t very tall. She was upset, and worked out more to lose the weight. Nobody in charge said anything to her, so I explained it: If you don’t want more muscle, stop lifting while you are taking steroids.

              Now, if she were wrestling, that 15 pounds of muscle would be a big advantage—and an artificial one.

              • Look at this a different way. What if there were no gender distinctions in wrestling? My guess is that, 9 times out of 10, a male would win each weight division, because males have more natural muscle mass and strength. They just do. Now, let’s take the teen in your example here who is taking testosterone to transition. My guess? Assuming that he is taking the prescribed amount to transition and not so much to turn into the Hulk, he is still going to be beaten most of the time by males who were born male, because the advantage — although there — would not be so great as to give him an extreme advantage. But, the testosterone would certainly give him an unfair advantage over females — no question.

                This is the type of case that makes bad law, but if I were a parent or a school administrator, I would handle it as I stated above. He would be booted from the girls team and a stern lecture on empathy and transgender awareness would be given to the complaining parents on the boys team. If they wanted to file suit, so be it, but I would hope that it wouldn’t get to that point.

            • Spartan wrote, “But here, as Chris mentioned, the drug is to treat a condition, NOT to give a competitive advantage.”

              Spartan your line of thinking is not logical.

              It IS a performance enhancing drug, period! The reasons for taking it DO NOT negate its performance enhancing capabilities; therefore, the reasons for taking it are 100% irrelevant.

                  • Except that it’s not. To have an unfair advantage suggests that I could defeat you, but only if I took PEDs. If I took PEDs and it could not change the outcome, then there is no unfair advantage.

                    • Spartan,
                      Have you really gotten to the point that you’ll write anything to try and justify your previous statements? You still need to learn when to stand down, walk away and not dig yourself in deeper.

                      Spartan wrote, “Except that it’s not. To have an unfair advantage suggests that I could defeat you, but only if I took PEDs. If I took PEDs and it could not change the outcome, then there is no unfair advantage.”

                      Please try for a just moment to realize that I haven’t once used the words “unfair advantage” in anything I’ve written about this, I have always used the words “performance enhancing”. These are not equivalent and shouldn’t be interrupted as such.

                      Using your own non-logic magical thinking; all athletes should be able to take all the performance enhancing drugs they want as long as they don’t win. By default that means that only winners that use performance enhancing drugs are breaking the rules. Also using your own logic, this Mack Beggs should be thrown out of the sport because she/he has taken performance enhancing drugs that have most definitely given her/him an “unfair advantage” and as a result of that unfair advantage she/he has won every match she/he has competed in.

                      There is a noticeable trend to your arguments.; what I’m seeing is a bias in favor of transgender over non-transgender and an additional bias in favor of the “weak” as opposed to the strong and those are a bias that has made you stupid.

                      You wanna bulk up with some PED’s and go another round?

                    • Spartan wrote, “I’m using Jack’s words verbatim.”

                      In my opinion, that’s a dishonest statement.

                      You say that you’re using Jack’s words verbatim but yet Jack didn’t ignore the part where the “performance enhancing drugs” are what actually gave the wrestler the dominating “unfair advantage”, it seems to me like you’re ignoring that fact so you can twist the narrative into your biased view. Jack’s point was not that it’s ok to use performance enhancing drugs as long as you loose. It seems to me like you have tried to cherry pick those two words from Jack’s blog and using them out of the context in which you claim to be using them, you did say “Jack’s words verbatim”, and that’s dishonest. Context matters. Honestly Spartan, you’re a lawyer, how would you like it if I started quoting your words “verbatim” and just randomly dumped whatever content context you used, thereby misrepresenting the context of your words in a manner in which doesn’t appear to be your intent; what would you do? Maybe I haven’t explain this very well, so between you and Jack, two actual lawyers, feel free to gang up on me and tell me I’m wrong and why I’m wrong; I’d rather be wrong, have it pointed out and learn from it than people just ignore my wrongs.

                      I’m also curious as to why you chose to address only my second paragraph and completely blow off the third paragraph addressing your logic and the fourth paragraph addressing your bias?

                      Care to elaborate any more than your last 5 word statement?

  8. I’m a hard man and here is my point of view.

    Performance enhancing drugs unnaturally enhance the performance of any athlete that takes them and I.. DON’T.. GIVE.. A.. DAMN.. why any person chooses to take them, they should be BANNED from competing in any athletic event, period!

    I am absolutely unwavering on this point.

  9. When I was a doing sports competitively in high school and college one tablet of ephedrine or any of its similar drugs would put you on a six month suspension no matter what. Whether the drugs are medically prescribed or bought at your friendly neighborhood black market the end result is the same: they enhance performance and thus the athlete should be banned.

    Note that there is no mention about gender or trans issues in the abive paragraph, because that should be orthogonal to the PED issue.

  10. The Olympics tests each female entrant. They need to endure a gynecological exam, a DNA test and/or a test of testosterone levels to determine if a person may enter as a female. The testosterone exam requires that their testosterone level register within a specific range to be considered female. Unfortunately, the range is considered by many to be too narrow, as many female athletes naturally have a higher amount of testosterone and the range needs to be modified. So, it is not the best test (and is anyone checking to see that male entrants have a penis?) but it is at least a start at trying to create a level playing field.

    So Mack Beggs, you met the legal requirements of the state, but you showed incredibly bad sportsmanship and a huge lack of ethics. I wouldn’t have you on my team or want to work with you.

  11. OK. Here’s what I think.

    I am the sort of person who thinks a person is whatever they feel they are inside. People like to talk about, ‘well, a transperson will never really be a woman” or whatever. I’ve not got much time for that. I ain’t got it in me to judge people for something like that. As I said to someone who was talking about the ‘perverts’ who dress like women, “Far as I care, I ain’t going to say you’re wrong. You are whatever you say you are. You say you’re a toaster, I’ll give you two pieces of bread.”

    That also means that I think that a transperson should use the bathrooms they’re comfortable with. The notion that there are creeps purposely crossdressing to get into the ladies’ room seems basically fictitious. Even if it was true, unless it was to a gigantic density, I don’t see that as a legitimate reason to force them to use a bathroom they’re not comfortable with.

    (It’s been going around, but there have been three Republican congressmen arrested for inappropriate conduct in men’s rooms, and they say no transpeople have been arrested for the same. I hope it doesn’t turn out that is HAS happened, but if it had… I think someone would have brought it up by now.)

    So this is where I stand on the issue of the transgendered. I try to be as permissive and accepting as possible without being dismissively so. I’m not likely to budge on this, since most of the arguments against it seem similar to the anti-homosexual arguments most of us reject on sight.

    Having said this… if Mack is really, in his heart of hearts, a male… then I don’t understand what possible pride he can take beating a bunch of girls at a sport when he’s ALSO taking performance-enhancing drugs. (Aside from everything else, I don’t really care if you have a legitimate reason to take steroids; I think you shouldn’t play competitive sports if you have to take them because they self-evidently give an unfair advantage.)

    If I were in Mack’s position to either wrestle women or not wrestle at all, and I were certain that I was a male in my heart, I would choose the latter and not wrestle at all. The system should be changed to let a transitioning youth wrestle or play with their transitioned gender, but letting anyone who uses performance enhancing drugs play at this level is almost certainly inherently unfair to everyone else.

    I believe Mack when he says he’s a boy… so he is basically a boy taking steroids and beating up a bunch of girls.

    Shame on him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.