The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has banned transgender women from participating in women’s chess tournaments until it can properly investigate the issue – which could take up to two years, the BBC reports.
The association received a lot of criticism for the decision. Several sports governing bodies are working on rules related to transgender athletes, but chess does not require a level of physical activity for transgenderism to matter, critics say.
FIDE told the BBC it was monitoring what was happening in other sports and considering whether to transfer those rules to chess. The federation added that transgender women can still compete in the open section of the tournaments in question.
Transgender chess master Yosha Iglesias says this regulation leads to “unnecessary harm” to trans players and trans women. “This terrible situation will lead to depression and suicide attempts,” he said.
Grandmaster and two-time US women’s champion Jennifer Shahade also criticized FIDE’s decision, saying it was “ridiculous and dangerous”.
FIDE also announced that the titles of trans men who previously won the women’s championship will also be canceled.