Updated: Nov 3
An amateur boxer decided to withdraw from a fight because her opponent was a trans-identifying male athlete, information she learned almost by chance.
Katia Bissonnette from Saguenay did not participate in the provincial boxing championship held in Drummondville last weekend.
The 36-year-old athlete was one of two boxers registered in her novice weight class category, with five fights. Novices who have competed in five fights are eligible for provincial competitions.
In The Dark
Katia Bissonnette claims that she would have liked to have been informed about her opponent's condition. Instead, she learned just an hour before the fight, almost by chance, that her opponent is transgender.
Her coach received a text from another person a few minutes before the confrontation, informing him that her rival was actually a transgender person.
There are no regulations prohibiting the registration of a transgender person, and Boxing Quebec states that they follow the rules of Boxing Canada.
The self-employed woman decided not to take the risk of participating in the fight.
"We had no information. So there was no free and informed consent on my part about it, so for me... Do we need results, tests? No one had thought about that before," she explains.
The woman who practices the sport recreationally does not want to be injured due to a lack of regulation.
"It can still have quite serious consequences," she adds.
Coach On Board
Her coach also criticizes the lack of guidelines but does not oppose the participation of a transgender person in competitions. He calls for more oversight.
"It's as if they're trying to sell it to me as if it's completely normal, but for now... there's a big gray area in there. In boxing, we hit each other. If there are risks for a female boxer, I lack information to make an informed decision," explains Denis Gravel, the coach of the Chicoutimi Boxing Club.
Katia Bissonnette says she does not blame Boxing Quebec or her opponent, whom she has not met. She is ready to continue her career and will participate in a tournament at the end of the month in Rimouski. Although the WBC (World Boxing Council) made a statement claiming new categories would be introduced for trans-identifying fighters, Boxing Canada seems to have flipped them the bird.
To you, Katia, I raise a toast. We need more athletes like you to stand up and say NO!