The English Chess Federation (ECF) has decided not exclude trans women from competing following a statement from International Chess Federation (FIDE) stating trans women would be officially banned from competitions until further notice.
FIDE’s policy would also ban members who were formerly registered with the league as women and later transitioned, but the English Chess Federation has maintained that its stance will not change, and referenced several other chess bodies that also refuse to impose such restrictions.
The decision by ECF, takes a stance against a consistent campaign against the trans community, an issue which has seen particular concentration across the conservative United States.
On August 14, FIDE announced several other new regulations including the exclusion of trans women, and has since received criticism from LGBTQ+ organizations and pro chess players, including Yosha Iglesias, a trans woman and FIDE ranked chess master, who said “This appalling situation will lead to depression and suicide attempts.”
These sentiments are not new in the global chess community. According to PinkNews, in early August over 120 chess players have signed an open letter written by 14 French women chess players denouncing sexism and sexual violence inflicted upon them by peers, coaches, managers, and more.
The National Center for Transgender Equality posted on the platform X (formerly known as Twitter) stating: “This is so insulting to cis women, to trans women, and to the game itself. It assumes that cis women couldn’t be competitive against cis men and relies on ignorant anti-trans ideas.”
Various other chess organizations have released statements saying all trans players are welcome to play in their leagues including the German, U.S., and French Chess Federations.