“We do not exclude trans women and this position will not change, despite FIDE’s new policy”


It seems like every week we open the news to see yet another sport banning trans athletes from competing. Last week, however, the world was left in disbelief that the International Chess Federation (FIDE) had banned trans women from competing in women’s chess tournaments. 

“Such decision should be based on further analysis and shall be taken by the FIDE 

Council at the earliest possible time, but not longer than within 2 (two) years period,” the new policy stated

However, the English Chess Federation (ECF) was having none of it. In a thread on Twitter, the ECF wrote: “The English Chess Federation’s (ECF) position is clear. We do not exclude trans women and this position will not change, despite FIDE’s new policy. Trans women have worked on behalf of the ECF and played in ECF events, as have trans women in various other chess federations.”

“The ECF notes that similar positions have been adopted by the German Chess Federation (DSB), the French Chess Federation (FFE) and the United States Chess Federation (USCF),” they continued. 

“The new FIDE rules are incompatible with English law, particularly with regard to the release of personal data. We cannot see the point of the two-year suspension of the right to participate in women-only competitions, which we view as discriminatory.” 

They finished their statement by saying that “the ECF restates its commitment to being an inclusive organisation that is welcoming to all.” 

FIDE has said that trans players will be able to compete in the “open section”. The new policy by FIDE also stated that for trans male players, any titles they had in the women’s categories previously would be abolished.

Across the world, chess players have condemned the actions of FIDE which are giving trans chess players an impossible dilemma: either they are forced to transition back to their assigned gender at birth or stop playing chess.

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