trans boxer danny baker
Photo: supplied.
News, Western Australia

Trans boxer hits back at Perth mayor

A trans boxer has spoken out against transphobic remarks by Perth’s new Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas.

Speaking on his 6PR radio show regarding the inaugural gender-inclusive World Gay Boxing Championships, Zempilas ridiculed trans people.

“No. Wrong. If you’ve got a penis, mate, you are a bloke,” said Zempilas.

“If you’ve got a vagina, you are a woman. Game over.”

Zempilas then offered a $100 voucher to any woman with a penis who would call into the show.

He later commented that there were “more redheads listening to 6PR than there is hermaphrodites”.

The mayor’s comments came just weeks before the launch of Perth’s Pridefest.

Boxer Danny Baker, a UK trans man who will be competing in the championships, said he was “a bit shocked and felt gutted”.

“I’m not sure he realised how far from the truth those statements were and how let down the beautiful people of Perth would have been feeling,” Baker told Pink Advocate.

“Mr Mayor, you’re placed in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, which is filled with the most beautiful people who are trying to fight their own fights every single day.

“They didn’t need that – try not to let them down.

“Trans people exist and I’m proud to say I’m one of them.”

TransFolk of WA chair Hunter Gurevich called for sensitivity training for the city council following the mayor’s “repugnant, bigoted” remarks, WA Today has reported.

“It is especially disappointing when the City of Perth has long supported the LGBTQIA+ community of Perth,” said Gurevich.

“For Mr Zempilas to now betray not only the community, but our relationship with the City, is beyond inexcusable.

“We strongly recommend trans awareness training for the City of Perth before Mr Zempilas even considers attending Pride.”

Furious members of the community have called for Zempilas to lose his job as mayor.

Zempilas has since apologised for his inflammatory remarks, claiming that he “forgot” his position.

6PR has now announced that Zempilas will leave his radio show role next month.

The first World Gay Boxing Championships are set to be held in 2023 during World Pride in Sydney.

“I can’t wait to reach Australia and fight in the championships,” said Baker.

“It’s really given me something to look forward to.

“Boxing is so much more than a few fights – it’s the bonds you grow along the way, the people you meet, but most of all it’s the self development within the training.”

Organiser Martin Stark said he was “delighted” that Boxing Australia Limited is supporting the event.

“Boxing Australia Limited has extended the hand of friendship to the LGBTQI+ community and are helping us make the first championships a successful event,” said Stark.

“We have been speaking with trans boxers in the UK who are helping raise awareness for the championships and are excited about travelling to Australia and competing.”

More information about the championships is available online.

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