The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has become the latest governing body to enact a complete ban on trans-identifying biological men participating in women's chess competitions.
The newly introduced FIDE guidelines state: “In the event that the gender was changed from a male to a female, the player has no right to participate in official FIDE events for women until further FIDE’s decision is made.”
Furthermore, the guidelines stipulate a timeline for decisions on these matters, stating: “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 a 2 (two) years period.”
The extensive guidelines also delve into title adjustments and eligibility: “If a player holds any of the women titles, but the gender has been changed to a man, the women titles are to be abolished.” It continues: “Those can be renewed if the person changes the gender back to a woman and can prove the ownership of the respective FIDE ID that holds the title.” Additionally, they note: “The abolished women title may be transferred into a general title of the same or lower level (e.g., Women’s Grand Master may be transferred into FM, Women’s International Master into Candidate Master, etc.).”
FIDE justified the changes, explaining that they were implemented after receiving recognition requests from players who identify as transgender. There were also instances where men were found to have disguised themselves as women to win prize money.
In contrast, the governing body has clarified that there “are no restrictions to play in the open section for a person who has changed the gender,” referring to competitions not delineated by gender.
The guidelines also maintain that women are not prohibited from competing in men's events, reflecting the smaller number of women chess players compared to men.
Critics slammed the decision, with trans activists labeling the move as “pure bigotry and persecution.” Some have gone further, arguing that since chess is not a physically demanding sport, the decision may suggest that the governing body believes women are intellectually inferior.