Katia Bissonnette was informed about the pairing by her coach about an hour before the match began.
By Andrew Chen
A female boxer from Quebec withdrew from a competition upon learning that she had been paired with a transgender opponent without prior notice, citing concerns for her health and physical safety.
Katia Bissonnette chose not to compete against Mya Walmsley, an Australian athlete who was born a male, during the Golden Gloves Provincial Championship held from Oct. 27-29, in Victoriaville, Que.
Bissonnette was informed about the pairing by her coach about an hour before the match began, according to Le Journal de Montréal.
“I decided to withdraw from fighting due to a matter of health and physical safety. I don’t think that should happen,” she told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement Nov. 20. “Women do not have to bear the physical risks and injustice created by the trans adversary who has made a choice regarding their psychological health on a personal level.”
Bissonnette highlighted that the punch from a biological male is significantly more powerful than that of a female, citing a Science Daily report based on a University of Utah study. The studies found that pound for pound, a man’s punching force is 162 percent higher than a woman’s.
“It only takes one punch to be seriously injured,” she said. “Trans people must take responsibility for the choices they make and simply not go fighting with [biological women].”
The Golden Gloves competition is the first stage of qualification for the Canadian Championships. The Epoch Times reached out to the Quebec Olympic Boxing Federation (Fédération québécoise de boxe olympique, FQBO), which is the organizing body of the competition, but didn’t hear back by publication time.
FQBO president Ariane Fortin told Radio-Canada that the delayed notice to Bissonnette stemmed from a recommendation by Boxing Canada not to disclose the transgender status of Mya Walmsley. She said the reasons behind this suggestion include concerns that it could contravene Safe Sport regulations, constitute defamation, and expose the transgender person.
Boxing Canada oversees and regulates amateur boxing at the national level, while FQBO serves as the provincial body for amateur boxing in Quebec, operating under the umbrella of Boxing Canada.
The Epoch Times reached out to Boxing Canada for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.
Walmsley, who reportedly moved to Canada roughly two years ago, issued a statement accusing Bissonnette of going “directly to the media” and “outing” Walmsley publicly, without prior communication with the athlete or the FQBO for information.
“The best way to ensure fair competition is not through tightening regulation to require arbitrary and invasive testing, but to trust coaches and athletes to select the most appropriate gender category,” Walmsley wrote in the statement.
Bissonnette dismissed the idea of relying solely on trust in coaching, citing instances of cheating and deception in the history of sports, such as the illicit use of drugs in competitions, tampering with equipment, and dishonest strategies.
Additionally, she disputed allegations of her engagement with the media.
“In no case did I turn to the media,” she said. “They were the ones who came to me, and I simply responded because I have nothing to hide.”