In a groundbreaking move, USA Boxing has declared that transgender fighters will be eligible to participate in sanctioned matches based on their gender identity, effective January 1, 2024. The new policy mandates fighters to be at least 18 years old and have undergone medical transition. Additionally, they must present evidence of quarterly hormone testing over the past four years, with violations resulting in a one-year suspension. While no bouts under this policy have been announced, the decision marks a departure from the global consensus on transgender athletes in boxing.
USA Boxing’s Shift Amidst International Discord:
The decision by USA Boxing diverges from the prevailing international stance on transgender fighters, as exemplified by WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman. His organization has advocated for establishing distinct weight divisions for transgender athletes. The move has faced criticism from anti-trans activists and notable boxers, including former IBF champion Ebanie Bridges, along with dissent from cisgender male boxers.
Ohio Governor Rejects Ban on Transgender Athletes:
The USA Boxing announcement follows closely on the heels of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of a statewide prohibition on transgender minors participating in sports based on their gender identity. Despite the potential for a legislative override due to Republican control, internal disagreements within Ohio’s Republican delegation may complicate matters. Federal protections enacted by the Biden administration in 2024 are expected to challenge such bans.
DeWine’s Rationale for the Veto:
Governor DeWine justified his decision by stating that he deemed the bill ineffective, impacting a relatively small number of individuals. However, he acknowledged the profound consequences for children facing gender dysphoria and their families, emphasizing the importance of protecting human life. Ohio becomes one of the few states resisting the trend, as over 20 states have enacted similar bills in the past two years.