Peer Review by izzysmiles09 (United States)

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Identity in Sports

By: carolinegGCL


    Mack Beggs, a 17 year old transgender male wrestler, recently won the title for the 110 pound weight class. Beggs describes that when he won, “[he] just heard the boos, but I heard more cheering” (“Mack Beggs”). In an ESPN article by Katie Barnes,  it reveals that the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the organization that creates the rules for high school athletics in Texas, required Beggs to compete in the girls division due to what was on his birth certificate. Beggs revealed that he was required to maintain a lower dosage of testosterone that he would have liked in order to wrestle the girls (Barnes). According to the K-12 policies page on transathlete.com, in many states, trans athletes are restricted to playing on a team that matches the gender on their birth certificate, as opposed to their gender identity. Some states allow athletes to play on a team of their choice as long as they have taken hormones and have waited for them to take effect (K-12 policies).  Not allowing transgender athletes to compete in their preferred division causes them to feel excluded. Trans athletes should be allowed to compete in their preferred division as long as they do not have a hormonal advantage or disadvantage to the other athletes.

    An ESPN interview with transgender male athlete, Mack Beggs, reveals how he would prefer to wrestle guys, although "[b]oy's wrestling is hard…If it means wrestling with the guys, [he’ll]  do it" (“Mack Beggs”). Furthermore, Beggs believes that, "It doesn't invalidate how [he] wrestle[s] and how [his] technique is” (“Mack Beggs”). As stated in Katie Barnes’ article, regulations required Beggs to acquire a  lower the dosage of testosterone, so that he would be able to compete against the girls. The UIL had been given Beggs’s medical records which indicated that he started taking hormones in 2015. The UIL does not allow steroid use, but through a loophole Beggs was able to compete. According to the UIL code, “the prohibition of steroids by a student doesn’t apply if they’re “‘dispensed, prescribed, delivered, and administered by a medical practitioner for a valid medical purpose…”’(Barnes). In “Mack Beggs”, Beggs believes that he does not have a physical advantage over the girl's, he believes he should be able to compete in the boys division because he does not have a physical disadvantage (“Mack Beggs”).  He prefers to compete in the boys division and reveals his belief that being trans will not impact his performance, only training will (“Mack Beggs”).

    While many believe that athletes should play on the team that correlates with the original gender on one’s birth certificate, others argue that transgender athletes can play on the team they feel corresponds with their gender identity. The UIL passed a policy in early 2016 that defined gender by what is marked on a person’s birth certificate (Barnes). Lots of other states have similar rules in place. According to K-12 policies, in Alabama, “The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) says participation in athletics should be determined by the gender indicated on the student-athlete’s certified certificate of birth.” Additionally, K-12 policies states that in Nebraska, the Nebraska School Activities Association requires transgender students to show evidence of hormone therapy or gender reassignment. The NSAA also requires a review by a committee in cases of transgender girls (K-12 policies). There is an easy middle ground between these rules. To completely disregarding the idea of a transgender athlete playing on the team that they identify with is discriminatory. Alternatively, allowing a transgender athlete to play on the team they identify with can create unfair advantages or disadvantages. Mack Beggs should have been allowed to compete in the boys league because he had taking testosterone.  

    There are some states that create a middle ground. K-12 policies identifies that the Georgia High School Association honors gender determination made by a member school as opposed to making the decision themselves. The GHSA does not require an athlete's birth certificate to prove they are playing on the correct team. In Illinois, the athlete should be registered according to their gender identity. Their medical information regarding hormonal treatment, sex reassignment, etc. and the gender identity related advantages must be reviewed as well (K-12 policies). K-12 goes on to state that in New Jersey, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association allows students to participate in a sport that coincides with the athlete’s gender identity. The conditions include athletes that have undergone “sex reassignment,” but also states that any member of the community can appeal the athlete’s eligibility (K-12 Policies). Not allowing a trans athlete to participate in sports is discriminatory and unfair, but allowing them to play on a team that coincides with their gender identity is an unfair advantage, unless they have taken hormones or had sex reassignment surgery.

    Transgender athletes should be able to participate in the league they feel most comfortable in, as long as they do not have an unfair advantage or disadvantage to the other athletes physically. Try-outs are still necessary when determining players for a team and completely excluding these players from playing on a particular team is discriminatory. Transgender athletes should be able to participate in the league they feel most comfortable in as long as they do not have an unfair advantage or disadvantage to the other athletes physically.  


Barnes, Katie. "FAQ: Why Is a Transgender Boy Allowed to Wrestle against the Girls in Texas?" ESPN. ESPN, 24 Feb. 2017. Web. 7 Mar. 2017.

"K-12 Policies." TRANSATHLETE - Transgender Athlete Policy. Web. 7 Mar. 2017.

"Mack Beggs: 'Change the Laws and Then Watch Me Wrestle the Boys'." ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 06 Mar. 2017. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

Peer Review

The topic itself is currently one that is very heated and constantly up for discussion. The introduction is a little simplistic however the story of Bregg draws the reader in.


The main argument here is that as long as there is no hormonal advantage, transgender athletes should be able to compete with the gender they identify with.


The statistic, by far. The statistic is what is heavily written in the paper, and draws the reader in.


I think adding an emotional pull would really strengthen the piece. The best kinds of writing are those which have a balanced blend of statistics and logistics and the more emotional parts. Maybe talk more about what it is like for Breggs to be forced to participate in a way which invalidates his identity.


This is an amazing start! You have a lot of strong information that reads well and is most often clearly stated and woven together. There is a substantial amount of tangible proof and examples which really creates a solid logical argument.


Reviewer Comments

I suggest weaving additional stories of trans athletes into your Op-Ed. How many are there? Is this a common occurrence? A bulk of your Op-Ed is regulation, and is some times repetitive. I feel adding more depth to your stance through appealing to the emotions of your reader, and talking about what it means to transgender student athletes could help retain the length, and cut back on repetition.

I also suggest looking into adding transitional phrases at the beginnings of your paragraphs. While what you have works well, when read there are parts where it may come off as a little bland. I suggest reading it out loud to yourself, and maybe even pretending that you are giving it as a speech. Ask yourself "what should I add here so that the words flow better."

If you have any other questions feel free to message me! Overall I really love your piece