Female Boxer Withdraws from Canadian Tournament Over Transgender Opponent, Ignites Debate on Inclusivity in Sports

Dr. Katia Bissonnette, a female boxer from Saguenay, withdrew from the 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship in Victoriaville, Quebec, after discovering that her opponent, Mya Walmsley, was transgender. The revelation came with only an hour's notice, leaving Bissonnette concerned for her safety.

Bissonnette, in an interview with Reduxx, expressed her apprehension, stating, "Women shouldn't have to bear the physical and psychological risks brought by a man's decisions regarding his personal life and identity." She advocated for a clear division between biological males and females in sports.

Citing a study from the University of Utah, Bissonnette argued that men can punch 163 per cent harder than women, emphasizing the need for separate categories. However, studies suggest that hormone blockers used by transgender women may mitigate this advantage.

According to Boxing Canada, the identity of a trans fighter should not be disclosed if the transition occurred before puberty to prevent discrimination. Walmsley, originally from Australia, has criticized Bissonnette for publicly outing her and urged for direct communication to resolve such issues.

In response, Walmsley, a philosophy Masters student, expressed her concern about becoming a 'political object' and emphasized the importance of trusting coaches and athletes to choose appropriate gender categories. She did not undergo testosterone level tests before enrolling in the championship, arguing against what she deemed "arbitrary and invasive" measures.

This controversy has reignited the broader debate on how to accommodate transgender competitors in sports. The International Olympic Committee allows transwomen to compete in female categories if they lower their testosterone levels to a specified threshold. However, Walmsley's case raises questions about the necessity of such tests.

The incident follows the retirement of Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender MMA fighter, who revealed causing a fracture to a female competitor's bone during a bout. This incident and others contribute to the ongoing dialogue about the challenges and controversies surrounding transgender athletes in competitive sports.

Read next: Former Champion's True Identity Revealed in Shocking Unmasking During WWE Show

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  1. Um did you mean Falon Fox fractured his competitors skull? Not just some random easy to break bone, but skull. Your bias is showing when you don't give all the facts. Lowering testosterone does not mitigate advantages brought about by puberty. There are plenty of studies showing male advantage does not disappear and still well above females even with testosterone suppression.

  2. Not only does lowering testosterone not mitigate advantages brought about by puberty, boys receive higher bursts of testosterone throughout their childhoods, and also in utero, meaning they already have a physical advantage over girls even if puberty is supressed. The idea that supressing testosterone levels in a grown man is going to change him to a woman's size and strength is laughable.

  3. Nah, Katia Bissonnette didn't withdraw because her opponent was "transgender". She withdrew because her opponent is a man.

    You report, accurately, that she was concerned for her safety. You should be supporting this view - it's clearly the case that a woman fighting a man is at a huge disadvantage both competitively and in terms of the likelihood of severe physical injury, like the woman who had her skull broken by Fallon Fox.

    Instead you suggest (though it's a total non sequitur so far as I can see) that testing for testosterone may be unnecessary. As it happens, I'd agree, but not for the same reasons - no men should be fighting / competing in women's sports, regardless of a slightly artificially reduced testosterone level, which does nothing at all to mitigate the many other physical advantages men have. (In boxing, for example, lowering testosterone does not reduce the length of a man's reach, meaning he can split his opponent's face open before she can get anywhere near him.) Nor does it make a great deal of difference to those advantages which are directly related to current levels of testosterone.

    It's time for some unbiased and honest reporting. Do we need to go elsewhere for that?

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