World Chess Federation Blocks Transgender Women from Women’s Events

World Chess Federation Blocks Transgender Women from Women's Events
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The premier global chess federation has decreed that transgender women will be barred from competing in official women’s events until a comprehensive assessment of their gender transition is undertaken by the federation’s authorities.

FIDE, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, made this announcement on Monday, which has since generated critique from proponents of transgender rights and advocacy groups.

FIDE disclosed that it and its affiliated member federations have witnessed a rising number of requests for recognition from players identifying as transgender. The participation of transgender women, according to the federation, will hinge on a case-by-case evaluation, a process that could extend for up to two years.

The federation underscored the considerable implications of gender transition on a player’s status and eligibility for future tournaments. Consequently, such changes will only be acknowledged upon submission of substantial evidence.

The statement clarified, “In the scenario where a player transitions from male to female, the individual is not permitted to partake in FIDE’s official women’s events until the federation reaches a conclusive decision.”

For those who hold women’s titles but transition to male, their titles would be revoked, though the possibility of reinstatement exists if the individual reverts to identifying as female.

The federation affirmed that any previous titles earned by an individual undergoing a gender transition from male to female would remain valid.

FIDE acknowledged that the issue of transgender players continues to evolve within the realm of chess, hinting at the potential development of additional policies in the future to align with emerging research.

Responding to an inquiry from The Associated Press, the federation’s press office clarified that the new regulations seek to establish a clear procedure for individuals who have officially undergone a gender change to update their status on FIDE’s Directory.

FIDE emphasized that the absence of such regulations led to ambiguity, necessitating the creation of a structured protocol for the inclusion of transgender players on the official FIDE register.

The statement affirmed that transgender players are permitted to participate in the “open” section of the federation’s chess tournaments.

The choice of a two-year timeframe for evaluations was made to ensure a comprehensive assessment of these developments without any undue haste, explained the federation.

This decision arises as the federation hosts a World Cup event in Azerbaijan, attended by prominent players, including top-ranked Grand Master Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

While various sports organizations grapple with the complexities of transgender participation, FIDE’s decision underscores the unique considerations inherent in mind sports like chess.

Several sports bodies, including the International Cycling Union, have navigated the intricacies of transgender athlete participation in competitive events. Notably, the cycling federation recently ruled that transgender athletes who transitioned after male puberty would no longer be eligible for women’s races.