A female boxer, Katia Bissonnette, allegedly withdrew from a Canadian championship match upon discovering that her opponent, Mya Walmsley, is transgender. Bissonnette opted out of facing Walmsley, who is biologically male, after learning about Walmsley’s biological sex just an hour before the 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship last month, ABC News reported.
“My coach suddenly took me aside and told me he received information by text message, which he had then validated, that my opponent was not a woman by birth,” Ms Bissonnette explained to Reduxx.
Ms Walmsley secured victory by default as officials were unable to locate another boxer in the corresponding weight class.
Hailing from Saguenay, Ms Bissonnette referred to a 2020 strength study conducted by the University of Utah to elucidate her choice to withdraw.
“According to a study, a male blow has 163% more impact than a woman’s, even adjusted for weight,” Bissonnette said. She argued that biologically female athletes should not have to endure the “physical and psychological risks” brought on by an opponent’s decisions regarding “personal life” and “identity.”
However, Ms Walmsley was not happy about Ms Bissonnette’s decision to withdraw.
“Rather than turning to me, my coach or the Quebec Olympic Boxing Federation for more information, she decided to turn directly to the media to out me,” Walmsley wrote in a statement. “This kind of behaviour puts athletes at risk of being excluded or receiving personal attacks based on hearsay.”
Ms Walmsley suggested that Bissonnette’s allegations might be employed to undermine the legitimacy of transgender female athletes and support specific regulations. The boxer advocates for mutual trust among athletes regarding gender identity.
Reportedly, Ms Bissonnette asserts that the Australian athlete would have been ineligible to participate in a women’s category in her home country.
“(Walmsley) would have boxed as a man in Australia,” Ms Bissonnette alleged. “In Quebec, on his [sic] file, it is mentioned that he [sic] had zero fights as a woman.”
Reportedly, Ms Bissonnette holds the view that sports categories should be restricted to separate divisions for biological males and females. This perspective appears to resonate with government leaders across the nation, as nine Republican governors urged the NCAA to reassess its policy on the inclusion of transgender athletes in a letter last month.
“The NCAA has the chance to guarantee an environment where female college athletes can thrive without the concern of inequities,” the governors wrote. “We trust that you also want to guarantee just such an environment. But this policy allows the NCAA to avoid responsibility for ensuring the fairness of collegiate sports -therefore it must be changed.”