A Texas girl enhanced with the hormones that build muscle mass, strength, and quickness won her state’s wrestling title, and people cheered. Some booed. Some girls forfeited, rather than wrestle in an unfair match, because testosterone and other steroids give an unfair advantage to athletes — which is why they’re banned in all sports. They’re banned, unless the athlete claims to be transgendered.
Progressives are loving this controversy. It has all the hallmarks of a perfect underdog story: outsider tries to belong, outsider breaks the rules, outsider bullies those following the rules, outsider triumphs.
The girl in this case, Mack Beggs, is transitioning from female to male. That means that she’s taking hormones to make her masculine but has all the female parts. She claims to want to compete as a boy.
Changing the rules so Mack could wrestle as a guy is problematic. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and that would mean that boy wrestlers who want to be girls could wrestle as girls and, obviously, always win. This phenomenon also has happened. I wrote about it here.
So here’s the problem for girls wanting to compete: Their choices when it comes to the transgendered trend (because it is trendy) is to either compete against a boy with biological advantages who perceives himself as a girl or against a girl who is taking performance enhancing drugs and perceives herself to be a boy.
A biological, hormonally unenhanced girl loses either way.
This may sound like a gross exaggeration considering how few transgendered boys and girls exist and how few decide to compete in sports, but that’s missing the point. One athletic girl on steroids or one boy who competes as a girl has such a distinct advantage that he or she will likely end up at the top of that sport.
At the elite level of any athletic endeavor, the difference between winning and losing is minute. This has become increasingly so as amateur athletics benefits from better coaching earlier. Athletes in pee-wee football coaching here in Texas can have better coaching than high schools of yore have. It’s astonishing how access to information, technology, and training prepare kids.
For better or worse, the average kids who just want to play to have fun wash out far sooner. So a kid who might have goofed around playing basketball his whole life and rode the bench in high school, in this generation, decides that he’s pretty average and gives up after a couple years at the YMCA. The talented kids join traveling leagues. By the time they hit high school, the teams are packed with athletes who’ve been playing at a high level for years.
This is true for nearly all sports, both male and female, and why it’s so extraordinary when stories are written about the walk-on talent at college or high school. The phenom who never played and just shows up doesn’t happen much anymore. The competition is too fierce. The performance quality is too high. Sorry, Danny Zuko.
In this environment, a talented athlete hones his or her skills over the years. What happens, when this kid decides he or she feels like the opposite gender in his or her mind? What happens, when parents rather than putting this child in psychotherapy puts them on hormone therapy instead?
Well, it’s a problem. For a boy doing female hormones, he’s still a genetic boy with all the physical benefits (and vulnerabilities) conferred upon him. He still has broader shoulders, bigger hands, narrower hips, denser and quicker twitching muscles and the Y chromosome. For a girl doing male hormones, she will develop denser muscles, she will tire less easily, she’ll have quicker reaction time. She will be more aggressive.
Both the biological boy and hormonally enhanced girl have an advantage over a girl. What is a girl to do?
It seems that girls must bend to the preferences of boys or girls who would be boys. This is grossly unfair and will be a bigger problem as athletes graduate from high school and go into college and chase Olympic dreams.
Should a girl have to compete against steroid-fueled competitors — whether a girl using androgenic hormones or a boy who grew up with them? Girls will lose. They’ll lose races, matches, and games. They’ll lose scholarship opportunities. They’ll lose competitive opportunities. It only takes one or two athletes in each race or match, especially in individual sports, to completely transform the competition.
Title IX brought resources and equal treatment for women from elementary school on up. The transgender movement is transforming athletic opportunity for female athletes. They’re finding themselves in the position they did before Title IX: an unequal playing field.
The solution to this problem is simple but not easy: Gender dysphoric kids must compete athletically with the sex they’re born with and must follow the rules against performance enhancing drugs. The same is true for college and Olympic and professional athletes. Any other system penalizes women and dismantles the gains of two generations of Title IX.