Female Boxer Refuses To Fight Transgender

Following her withdrawal from a championship battle against a transgender opponent, Canadian female boxer Katia Bissonnette of the 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship in Quebec, Canada, made news recently. This choice created concerns about safety, identity, and justice as well as the inclusion of transgender athletes in sports. The boxing community and the general public were caught off guard when Katia Bissonnette decided to withdraw from the contest at the last minute. She had been training for the title match and was ready to go when she found out that Mya Walmsley, a transgender athlete who had never competed as a woman, would be her opponent. Bissonnette decided to reevaluate her involvement in the match after learning this information.

In an interview with Reduxx, Bissonnette explained the sequence of events that led to her withdrawal. She mentioned that her coach received information via text message that Mya Walmsley was not assigned female at birth. This information, though limited, raised concerns for Bissonnette and her team, as they were unsure about Walmsley’s competitive background and transition history.

Mya Walmsley, originally from Australia, had moved to Canada to attend Concordia University in Montreal. Bissonnette pointed out that Walmsley would have competed as a man in Australia, and his Quebec boxing record showed no fights as a woman. This lack of competitive history as a female boxer in Quebec added to the uncertainty surrounding the match.

After withdrawing from the competition, Katia Bissonnette faced criticism from Mya Walmsley, who accused her of not addressing her concerns directly with him or his coach. Walmsley expressed disappointment that Bissonnette chose to involve the media rather than seeking more information from the relevant authorities or engaging in a conversation with the athletes involved. He argued that such actions put athletes at risk of exclusion and personal attacks based on hearsay.

Walmsley emphasized the importance of trust among athletes when it comes to gender identification, advocating for a system where athletes respect each other’s self-identified genders. In contrast, Bissonnette insisted that the competition’s rules and policies should be transparent and that athletes should not be placed in situations of uncertainty. She noted that Boxing Canada had issued a rule to the Quebec Boxing Federation not to disclose an opponent’s transgender status to prevent discrimination. However, this policy was designed for cases where a sex change had occurred before puberty, and Walmsley’s transition history, as a foreign athlete, remained unclear.

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