‘No Right to Participate’: FIDE Checkmates Trans Women’s Wager on Chess Events

TransgenderInternationalIndiaAfricaWith the ongoing debate raging about transgender athletes creeping into elite sports events and school competitions, the issue has been centered not just on testosterone guidelines, but on women’s sports in general. Critics point to «unfair» physical advantages, while the other side of the aisle hits back with routine accusations of transphobia.The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has slapped a ban on players who have transitioned “from male to female,” with the rules coming into effect from August 21.Transgender women have “no right to participate” in women’s chess events, the regulatory organization announced in an update to its handbook. The international organization based in Switzerland added that the ban would apply until further notice, and stopped short of offering any clarifications as to the reasons that prompted the policy change, albeit coming on the heels of similar updates by a spate of sports authorities.“Such decisions should be based on further analysis and shall be taken by the FIDE council at the earliest possible time, but no longer than within [a two-year] period,” the updates guidelines state.FIDE also decided to strip transgender men of their titles won in “pre-transition period” in a women’s tournament. It did, however, clarify that the title stripping would not affect trans women who won titles in men’s events.The Federation added that it would only recognize a chess player’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”. Furthermore, the new guidelines revealed that FIDE will have the right to inform event organizers about a player’s «identity.»Critics have been quick to rail against the ban, calling it “anti-trans regulations”. Yosha Iglesias, a trans chess coach from France, questioned the updated guidelines on X (formerly Twitter).© Photo : xScreengrab of X post by Yosha Iglesias, a French chess coach.Screengrab of X post by Yosha Iglesias, a French chess coach.The trans issue has increasingly dominated headlines and politics in recent years, with a fierce global debate raging about trans inclusion in sport. While LGBTQ+ rights activists bemoan the fact that excluding trans athletes is discriminatory, participation of such athletes in women’s sport has faced some noticeable backlash. Such elite trans athletes as US swimmer Lia Thomas and weightlifter Laurel Hubbard in particular faced scrutiny. Critics argue that trans women boast an unfair physical advantage over those born female because of the impacts of testosterone on their bodies.Cycling’s worldwide governing body — the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) — recently banned transgender female athletes from competing in women’s events in cases when these individuals transitioned after puberty. This decision followed similar restrictions on trans competitors set in place by a growing list of sports organizations. After updates to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) rules were introduced in November 2021, individual sports are now able to decide whether trans athletes can compete. Accordingly, trans women who transitioned after puberty have been banned from competing in female sports categories by World Athletics, International Swimming Federation (FINA), Swim England, and others. ‘Murder of Women’s Sports’: Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas Under Fire After Winning Women’s National Title19 March 2022, 12:18 GMT


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