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17 Aug, 2023 11:31

Trans chess players banned from women’s events

The International Chess Federation has issued new transgender regulations
Trans chess players banned from women’s events

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has announced that transgender women, i.e. males who have transitioned into females, will no longer be allowed to compete in women’s events until further notice.

In a recent update to the FIDE handbook, the organization explained that it has been receiving more and more recognition requests from individual members who identify as trans. In response, FIDE said it has chosen to only recognize in its directory an individual’s gender identity that is “consistent with the identity they maintain in their non chess life AND that has been confirmed by national authorities based on a due legal and formal process of change.”

FIDE noted that the term ‘trans’ only applies to those who have officially transitioned under “the national legal rules” and not to intersex, androgyne, or polygender people, as well as crossdressers and transvestites.

According to the new regulations, players who wish to have their new gender recognized by FIDE must provide proof that they have indeed transitioned and their claims must be reviewed by a national rating officer. After their new gender is confirmed and entered into the FIDE database, the player will face a number of restrictions.

Those who transition from male to female will be barred from participating in official FIDE events designated for women until further notice, the organization said, adding that more “analysis” is required on the issue, and that the FIDE council will make a final decision “at the earliest possible time, but no longer than within a two year period.” 

The guidelines state, however, that “there are no restrictions to play in the open section for a person who has changed their gender.”

Additionally, the new rules state that transgender men (female-to-male) who earned women’s titles before transitioning will have those titles transferred to a general title of the same or lower level. 

Titles obtained by male-to-female players will remain valid; however, these individuals will not be able to use their pre-transition peak ratings or results to qualify for women’s titles.

FIDE also stated that it reserves the right to “inform the organizers and other relevant parties” about a player’s gender change in order to prevent players from “possible illegitimate enrollments in tournaments.”

Earlier this month, British Rowing also banned transgender athletes from representing Great Britain or England in women’s international races. In July, the Union Cycliste Internationale, the world arbiter for cycling, also announced that male-born trans athletes would be kept out of women’s events to “ensure equal opportunities.”