Boxer withdraws from championship upon discovering opponent's transgender identitytext_fields
In a recent Canadian championship match, female boxer Katia Bissonnette reportedly withdrew upon learning that her opponent, Mya Walmsley, is transgender.
This revelation came just an hour before the 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship, as Bissonnette was informed by her coach about Walmsley's biological sex.
Walmsley, identified as transgender, was declared the winner by default as officials were unable to locate another boxer in the corresponding weight class.
Citing a study from the University of Utah conducted in 2020, Bissonnette justified her decision to withdraw, stating, "According to a study, a male blow has 163% more impact than a woman's, even adjusted for weight." She expressed concern about the "physical and psychological risks" that female athletes might face when competing against individuals who were assigned male at birth but identify as female.
However, Walmsley expressed dissatisfaction with Bissonnette's approach.
"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 stated, highlighting the risks of athletes being subjected to exclusion or personal attacks based on hearsay.
Walmsley emphasised the importance of trust among athletes regarding gender identity and cautioned against using such incidents to undermine the legitimacy of transgender female athletes or advocate for specific regulations.
Bissonnette alleged that Walmsley would have been ineligible to compete in a women's category in Australia and referenced Walmsley's boxing record, stating, "In Quebec, on his [sic] file, it is mentioned that he [sic] had zero fights as a woman."
Advocating for separate divisions in sports based on biological sex, Bissonnette's stance aligns with several government leaders across the nation. Recently, nine Republican governors urged the NCAA to reconsider its policy regarding the inclusion of transgender athletes.
"The NCAA has the chance to guarantee an environment where female college athletes can thrive without the concern of inequities," the governors stated in a letter. "This policy allows the NCAA to avoid responsibility for ensuring the fairness of collegiate sports. Therefore it must be changed."