Dr. Katia Bissonnette, a female boxer from Canada, made the difficult decision to withdraw from a provincial championship fight in Quebec after discovering that her opponent was a transgender individual named Mya Walmsley. Dr. Bissonnette, who is a psychologist by profession, expressed her concerns about not being informed in advance about the transgender status of her opponent.
The event in question was the prestigious 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship, held in Victoriaville, Quebec, from October 27th to 29th. This three-day tournament, organized by the Quebec Boxing Federation and the KO-96 boxing club, aimed to provide aspiring boxers with the opportunity to qualify for the Canadian Championship in December.
Just an hour before the fight, Dr. Bissonnette shared her experience, stating, “As I made my way from my hotel room to join the other boxers in the warm-up room, my coach pulled me aside and informed me, with evidence from a text message, that my opponent was not assigned female at birth. We had no further information about this revelation.”
Dr. Bissonnette further elaborated on the issue, revealing, “The rule from Boxing Canada to the Quebec Boxing Federation was not to disclose the transgender identity of the opponent, in order to avoid discrimination. However, after verification, it appears that this policy only applies when the transition occurred before puberty.”
She also highlighted the potential risks faced by female boxers when competing against transgender boxers who experienced puberty as males. Dr. Bissonnette stated firmly, “Women should not have to bear the physical and psychological risks associated with such fights.”
In response to Dr. Bissonnette’s actions, Mya Walmsley criticized her approach, arguing that it perpetuates the exclusion of transgender athletes and leads to discrimination. Walmsley expressed her concern, saying, “Instead of seeking clarification from me, my coach, or the Quebec Olympic Boxing Federation, she chose to involve the media and disclose my transgender identity. This behavior puts athletes at risk of exclusion and personal attacks based on hearsay… I fear that these accusations could be used to delegitimize athletes in the women’s category and justify arbitrary and invasive regulations.”
This incident is part of an ongoing debate surrounding the participation of transgender athletes in women’s sports. Athletes like Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer, have faced resistance from their cisgender counterparts, who argue that competing against them is unfair. Different sports organizations have taken various approaches to address this issue, striving to find a balance that does not unfairly discriminate against anyone involved.
Check out Dr. Bissonnette talking about psychology !