High school junior Mack Beggs won the University Interscholastic League State Girl’s Championship for wrestling in Texas on Feb. 25, 2017. With that victory, Beggs inadvertently became the first transgender male to win a state wrestling championship.

Beggs was born a female, but currently not only identifies as a male but also began taking testosterone treatments in Oct. 2015. However, because of UIL rules, stating that an athletes’ gender is based on their birth certificate, Beggs was forced to wrestle in the girls’ division instead of boys’. 

This is a great athletic achievement for Beggs, and could very well be a historic moment. However, even with the positive implications of this event, there are questionable circumstances surrounding the situation. There is the controversy about the UIL forcing Beggs to compete in the female tournament, but there is also the issue of fair competition as he began the biological treatment to successfully transition. Mack Beggs should not have been forced to compete in the female tournament, as it was not only disrespectful to do so, but also brings about questions of fairness in the competition.

First off, it was very disrespectful to force Beggs to compete against female competitors. He may have been born female, but Beggs already made the transition to male back in Oct. 2015. To force him to wrestle at the female tournament because of what he was born as shows a complete lack of understanding by the wrestling league.

Some may say that the birth certificate should be the indicator on whether someone like Beggs should be classified as male or female. The problem with that assumption is that it assumes that transgender people only emotionally identify with the gender they prefer while maintaining the physical characteristics of the gender they were born as. However, that is false. Many transgender people go through physical transitions, such as hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, in order to feel comfortable in their own skin as their true identity. This is what Beggs went through. In fact, one of the main reasons many transgender individuals choose to not go through physical transition is because such procedures are incredibly expensive, and not often covered by health insurance. Therefore, using a birth certificate to identify the gender of a transgender person is simply ignorant.

Another factor that made this decision by the league a poor one is the question of fair competition. Beggs was forced to go against female opponents even though he identified as a male. This would have been fine, even if disrespectful, if not for the fact that Beggs had already gone through the transition to male.

You see, sports have always been divided into male and female categories. This is because of several biological differences that men and women have, such as men developing more upper body strength on average. This does not mean that men are better athletes than women (or vice versa), but it does mean that in the spirit of fair competition, the two genders are often split into two categories. This is what makes Beggs competing in that tournament an even more questionable decision by the league. As Beggs had gone through the physical transition, he had the biological characteristics of a male. In fact, with the levels of testosterone he was taking at the time of competition, Beggs would have been eligible to compete with other men in collegiate wrestling. UIL’s rules forcing Beggs to compete in the female tournament inadvertently ruined the fairness of the sport.

 I’m not saying that Beggs’ opponents were easy because of their gender. They were likely very tough opponents, considering it was the state championship. In the end, this was still a magnificent thing for Beggs to achieve. But with the ignorance and unfairness surrounding the situation, it makes it impossible for the dirt not to tarnish the gold.

Author: Liam Sweeney

Liam Sweeney is a Junior at Metea and a Spotlight writer for the school magazine. He is a political independent, as he refuses to align with any of the mainstream political parties. Music dominates Liam’s life as he is a lover of all rock music, with his favorite genres being garage rock and punk rock. Liam also plays guitar, and wishes to be in his own band in the near future.

21 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree with you concerning the fact that Beggs was forced to wrestle in the female tournament is not a good thing. But is it honest if he could choose between the two tournaments ? If he is man nowadays i think he should join the male tournament don’t you agree?

  2. I think every opinion article on here is biased. What if a male wanted to become a female and identified being female. He could go dominant because of his high testosterone. In the end you can’t please everyone and if the rules of the UIL aren’t specifically catered towards a minority of transgender people, Is it that big of a deal?

    • here is the thing, if a male wanted to identify as a female, and its what they truly wanted, yes that individual would have high testosterone levels, but they would do what Beggs did and take pills but in this case, it would be estrogen pills to have more of a feminine trait, but all I am saying is is that it is practically the same thing so he doesn’t need to bring it up, also you did not back up your statement saying the article was biased well, I do agree that a lot of the articles take their opinion to far, this one did at points but, you just did a bad job at backing it up

    • Two things:
      “I think every opinion article on here is biased.”
      Now, I might be wrong here, but this might be because the article is meant to reflect the author’s opinions :^)

      Secondly, your comparison only works in a scenario where Beggs didn’t go through hormone treatment and hadn’t become endocrinologically male. A trans female would presumably take something to lower testosterone levels, thus removing the advantage of high testosterone.

    • First of all, how can an opinion be biased? It’s an opinion. Second of all, it doesn’t need to be “catered” towards transgender people, it just needs to be inclusive.

  3. Even though he started his transition, he hasn’t fully transitioned. Not saying that what they did is right, but it may be a reason why he wasn’t allowed to compete with the men. If he was farther along in his transition, they may have thought differently.

  4. I presume this rule was put in place primarily to prevent biological males from pretending to be transgender in order to compete in female competitions. Should people be allowed to declare whatever gender they want, regardless of biology? I don’t think so.

    “Beggs was forced to go against female opponents even though he identified as a male. This would have been fine, even if disrespectful, if not for the fact that Beggs had already gone through the transition to male.”

    If this rule were to be repealed, how would one determine whether a participant had “already gone through the transtition” process? Would it be a certain level of testosterone? That seems rather arbitrary. We don’t really have a way to know for sure whether someone is male or female besides checking their genitals. For that reason, the rule is just.

  5. Taking physical enhancing drugs (to make the person “male”) is more likely the reason that this person got rejected from the male competition as it would put them at an advantage to other players who do not use drugs.

    • I hate all the people who think that there are more than just 2 freaking genders. There are not you idiots, I’m just a freshman and taking hon bio and there are only X and Y chromosomes

  6. There are 69 Genders in the whole universe we are only two of them. Don’t be triggered because you are one with hilery hail hilery

  7. It wasn’t a magnificent or amazing achievement considering she was technically taking steroids but because of a slip of paper saying she needs to take testosterone to become something she isn’t and biologically can never be its okay for her to gain a competitive edge over her opponents.

  8. I just think it’s completely unfair that she was able to compete while using testosterone supplements, drugs that under normal conditions would be considered PEDs and illegal. Before she made the switch she actually was not nearly at the level it took for her to win the state championship, but after she got the pills they made her much stronger than any of her competition, giving her an unfair advantage. All in all she should have been allowed to compete in the male division simply because it wasn’t fair to the female division to have to wrestle someone who is technically cheating by violating the doping policy.

  9. First off just because you don’t agree with the leagues decision doesn’t mean it is wrong. They made a decision in order to make the competition fair for everyone, including Mack. Also I don’t see how you can comment on the sport in the way you do when you are not apart of it. Also it is not a common occurrence for a top wrestler to be in this situation, so you have to give them slack as they may have never had to make this decision before.

  10. Jimmy Choo is exactly right. Should people really be able to declare whatever gender they want? And should hormones from the opposite sex be given to someone because they want to be a different gender?

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