In guidelines released last week, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) said male players who identify as “transgender” will not have a right to compete in women’s events until officials complete their analysis on the issue, NBC News reported.
FIDE’s governing body expects to complete its review within two years.
According to the guidelines, FIDE will abolish any women’s chess titles that are currently held by female competitors who “transition” to men. Instead, the titles will be transferred to a general title. But if a trans competitor transitions back to female, the title will be restored.
A spokesperson with FIDE said in a statement on Thursday that an absence of regulations regarding transgender competitors had “caused ambiguity.” The spokesperson said officials want time to review “rapidly developing” legislation on transgender competitors rather than “rushing” FIDE’s guidelines.
Any final decisions on whether to admit or bar transgender competitors from FIDE’s women’s events will require a “thorough analysis” by the federation’s governing council, the spokesperson said.
In the meantime, transgender competitors will be permitted to participate in open sections of FIDE tournaments.
Unsurprisingly, trans activists denounced FIDE’s decision, calling it an insult to both women and transgenders.
The National Center for Transgender Equality argued that the decision assumes that women are unable to compete against men and “relies on ignorant anti-trans ideas.”
FIDE chess master Yosha Iglesias, a transgender, accused FIDE of using trans women as “scapegoats.” Iglesias suggested that if FIDE wants to help women, it should “fight against sexist and sexual violence” and make women’s chess more visible by giving it more money.
Jon Schweppe, The American Principles Project policy director, defended the move, arguing that even in chess men have a biological advantage over women since there are more males with high IQs than females.