Katia Bissonnette, a biological female boxer, withdrew from a Canadian championship match upon discovering that her opponent, who identified as a woman, was transgender.
Bissonnette chose not to participate in the match against Mya Walmsley, who is biologically male but identifies as a woman. This decision was made just an hour before the 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship.
According to media accounts, Bissonnette clarified, “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.”
Following her withdrawal from the match, Walmsley secured victory by default, as officials were unable to locate another boxer in the same weight class.
A female boxer withdrew from a championship in Quebec, Canada, after learning she was set to fight a trans-identified male.
Katia Bissonnette says she learned her opponent was a biological man just one hour before she was set to step into the ring. pic.twitter.com/2y9FO8irTN
— 6ixBuzzTV (@6ixbuzztv) November 16, 2023
Hailing from Saguenay, Bissonnette cited a strength study conducted by the University of Utah in 2020 to justify her decision to abstain.
She remarked, “According to a study, a male blow has 163% more impact than a woman’s, even adjusted for weight.”
As stated in a report by ABC, she contended that athletes who are biologically female should not be subjected to the “physical and psychological risks” arising from an opponent’s choices regarding their “personal life” and “identity.”
Nevertheless, Walmsley, her opponent, conveyed dissatisfaction with her decision to withdraw. In a statement, Walmsley expressed, “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. This kind of behavior puts athletes at risk of being excluded or receiving personal attacks based on hearsay.”
According to Walmsley, there is a concern that Bissonnette’s allegations might be exploited to undermine the legitimacy of transgender female athletes and provide justification for specific regulations. Walmsley emphasized the importance of athletes trusting each other in matters related to gender identity.
In explaining her choice, Bissonnette purportedly argued that the Australian athlete would not have been eligible to compete in the women’s category in their home country.
She said, “Walmsley would have boxed as a man in Australia. In Quebec, on his file, it is mentioned that he had zero fights as a woman.”
Bissonnette emphasized the need for sports categories to be restricted to one for biological males and another for biological females.
This viewpoint gained support from leaders across the nation, with nine Republican governors urging the NCAA to reassess its policy on the inclusion of transgender athletes in a letter issued last month.
The letter read, “The NCAA has the chance to guarantee an environment where female college athletes can thrive without the concern of inequities. 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.”