Former PA wrestler, business owner denies transphobic allegations at Kelowna track meet

Josef Tesar and his wife at the elementary school track meet where a confrontation occurred about a nine-year-old girl’s gender. -- Kelowna Alert/Facebook

A Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame inductee and former hotel owner is being accused of questioning a nine-year-old girl’s gender at a school track meet in Kelowna last week.

In a post to the Facebook group ‘Kelowna Alert,’ the girl’s mother, Heidi Starr, claimed Josef Tesar stopped her daughter’s shotput event. She said Tesar “declared” that the girl was a boy and, if not a boy, was transgender and should be disqualified.

Meanwhile, claims Starr in the post, Tesar’s wife was hurling slurs at her.

The young girl has a pixie hair cut. She is not transgender, said Starr.

The Herald contacted both of the girl’s mothers and did not receive a response by deadline.

“My daughter was so shaken up. She has never witnessed this kind of hate before,” reads the post.

“The entire event was moved to a different pit and he walked over to the pit and stood there, chest out, and arms crossed.”

Tesar, however, denies the allegations. 

The Herald also reached out to Tesar directly, as well as to his son to pass on the opportunity to do an interview, but did not hear back.

The Kelowna media outlet Castanet said Tesar read a prepared statement to a reporter.

Castanet’s article said Tesar claims he approached an official at the track meet and asked if the event was co-ed. After being told it was a girl’s event, he said he thought there was a boy in line to compete.

“As I was walking away from the official, a woman saying ‘I’m her mother’ and (she was) yelling, and swearing at me and offering if I want to see (the girl) naked, or if I want to see her genitals,” Tesar said to Castanet.

Starr also said Tesar asked to see a certificate proving her daughter is female. 

Tesar, though, said after the woman questioned if he wanted to see her daughter naked, responded with “No, the certificate is OK.”

“I never pointed to another girl and said she’s obviously trans,” he told Castanet.

Tesar was inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. 

According to his biography on the hall of fame’s website, he moved to Prince Albert in 1980. He’s originally from Czechoslovakia.

Tesar was a competitive wrestler starting at the age of 13. He won multiple Canadian championships, was a coach for teams that competed nationally, and coached the Prince Albert Wrestling Club. 

Tesar’s son, Josef Tesar Jr., who’s also a wrestler, was inducted into the hall of fame in 2014.

Tesar also owned the Ramada Hotel and Belly Up Bar in Prince Albert, as well as Motel 6 in Moosomin. 

Ellen Grewcock, the president of the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame, said the board of directors is meeting on Monday.

“We’re having a meeting to address the concern that’s come to us,” said Grewcock. 

“It’s related to us, so we’re meeting to discuss what we’ve read, what we’ve seen, what we’ve heard.”

Kelowna RCMP said it received a report on the incident and police are investigating.

The detachment said although it can’t release further details due to the privacy act, it shares “everyone’s grave concerns with discriminatory behaviour.”

“We want to encourage you to continue to be a strong voice and to show your ally ship, support, public positions and commitment to diversity and inclusion,” reads a statement.

The Central Okanagan School District is also investigating, according to Castanet.