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Female boxer learns at last moment her opponent's manhood was kept a secret, drops out of women's competition
Male boxer Mya Walmsley (left), female boxer Katia Bissonnette (right). Image composite: YouTube video, VA Nouvelles - Screenshots

Female boxer learns at last moment her opponent's manhood was kept a secret, drops out of women's competition

An Australian transvestite won a Canadian women's boxing competition in Quebec by default in late October because his 36-year-old female opponent, Dr. Katia Bissonnette, refused to fight a man.

The 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship took place from Oct. 27 to Oct. 29 in Victoriaville, Quebec. It was hosted by the Quebec Olympic Boxing Federation in partnership with the KO-96 boxing club. The competition afforded amateur boxers the opportunity to qualify for the Canadian Championship in December.

Bissonnette, a recovered drug addict turned psychologist, figured she had fair shot in the 0-5 fights, 165 lb. super welterweight category. That dream was dashed by 27-year-old Mya Walmsley, a man evidently keen on beating up women.

"I came down from my hotel room to head towards the room where all the boxers were warming up. 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. We did not have any other additional information," Bissonnette told Reduxx.

Denis Gravel, Katia's trainer, indicated that neither the QOBF nor Boxing Canada bothered to mention that Mya Walmsley was a man, reported La Presse.

Ariane Fortin, president of the QOBF, told Canadian state media, "They [Boxing Canada] told us not to warn [the female competitor], that it could contravene Safe Sport regulations, that it could constitute defamation, that it would expose the trans person. So we couldn't warn Katia, who was surprised. But we made sure to do the right thing."

Bissonnette, of Saguenay, told Reduxx, "The rule issued from Boxing Canada to the Quebec Boxing Federation was not to reveal that the opponent was transsexual, so that the latter would not be discriminated against. However, after confirmation, this policy only applies when a sex change has taken place before puberty."

While the organizers did not bother to tell the female athlete she'd be facing a man, they did send an experienced referee, which Bissonnette regards as an admission of the risk.

Gravel suggested there were too many unknowns, give that he and his fighter had only learned of Walmsley's true nature an hour before the fight.

"We lack information. ... We don't know anything about testosterone levels, we don't know whether or not this person took puberty blockers before adolescence," Gravel told La Presse. "We're in the dark."

Bissonnette, accustomed to fighting women, recalled worrying whether they'd be facing off "on equal terms," noting that she "could have after-effects, end up in hospital with a concussion or in a coma."

Walmsley, a broad-shouldered philosophy student and teaching assistant at Concordia University, did not appreciate the reality check, telling Canadian state media, "I felt devastated."

"I was scared, I was scared because I was outed like that," he said. "I was afraid of not being able to practice my sport any more."

Walmsley previously boxed in male competitions but claims not to have transitioned for a competitive edge.

"[Walmsley] would have boxed as a man in Australia," Bissonnette told Reduxx. "In Quebec, on his file, it is mentioned that he had 0 fights as a woman."

"I do this for the pleasure of participating in a sport. I like to be fit and healthy. And I'm a little competitive, so I like getting into fights. But I transitioned for reasons much more complex than that. No one transitions to compete in sports," said Walmsley.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology found that "males' average power during a punching motion was 162% greater than females', with the least-powerful man still stronger than the most powerful woman. Such a distinction between genders ... develops with time and with purpose."

A 2021 study published in the journal Sports Medicine revealed that the "performance gap between males and female becomes significant at puberty and often amounts to 10-50% depending on sport. The performance gap is more pronounced in sporting activities relying on muscle mass and explosive strength."

The study, by Tommy Lundberg and Emma Hilton, also highlighted that "the effects of testosterone suppression on muscle mass and strength in transgender women consistently show very modest changes, where the loss of lean body mass, muscle area and strength typically amounts to approximately 5% after 12 months of treatment. Thus, the muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed."

The QOBF reportedly takes marching orders from Boxing Canada when it comes to its policies regulating the admission of transvestites into competitions. Boxing Canada's guidelines are limited, though they do require transvestites to post relatively low testosterone levels. The federation apparently does not apply this policy.

Walmsley revealed that he did not have to test his testosterone levels before his planned bout with Bissonnette. He told La Presse that such tests would be "arbitrary and invasive," suggesting that athletic organizations should just trust the athletes to choose the sex categories that suit them.

Bissonnette hopes the federation might clarify its policies and learn from this incident.

"Women shouldn't have to bear the physical and psychological risks brought by a man's decisions regarding his personal life and identity," she told Reduxx. "There should be two categories: biological male and female."

Boxing Canada confirmed to Le Journal that a committee is working on a policy to deal with transvestites in the sport.

All-American, all-female swim star Riley Gaines, who has fought against the incursion of men into women's sports in recent years, lauded Bissonnette for taking a stand, noting on X, "Women are starting to roll up their sleeves and say enough is enough. More of this."

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