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Yosha Iglesias — Courtesy photo
Yosha Iglesias — Courtesy photo

Content Warning: This article mentions transphobia and homophobia. 

International Chess Federation bans Transgender competitors from women's events
The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has banned Transgender women from competing in women's events while it conducts a "thorough analysis" of developments. FIDE's new rule went into effect Monday, August 21.

In addition to subjecting the participation of Transgender participants to such review, the federation also removed titles from players who won in women's categories and later transitioned to male. Under the new guidelines, Transgender players are still able to compete in "open" events, in which men and women can compete against each other.

FIDE's reasoning is that, after an influx of requests for gender changes for Transgender competitors, it needed to make regulations as "change of gender is a change that has a significant impact on a player's status." It cited a need to conduct a review of that impact — a process that can take up to two years.

The National Center for Transgender Equality wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter), "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."

Professional chess player Yosha Iglesias also wrote in a post on X, "The new regulations will make trans chess players all over the world face a horrible dilemma: transition or quit chess." Iglesias calls attention to the experiences of Transgender women chess players, outlining the challenges they face because of their gender designations.

Several chess federations, such as those in the US and Germany, have come out against these changes. The German Chess Federation said in a statement on Friday, August 18, "If a person is legally recognized as a woman, it is incomprehensible to us what FIDE still wants to check and why it needs two years for this."

In its statements and regulations, it is not clear what impact FIDE understands gender transition to have on a player's ability to compete, nor what research evidence it requires in order to fully integrate Transgender players into women's events. It is similarly not clear why FIDE considers existing research inadequate for such a determination.

Italy's top army general fired after publishing anti-Queer, anti-minority book
A top army general in Italy was fired Friday, August 18, over a series of anti-Queer, anti-Muslim, and anti-minority statements in his self-published book The World Upside Down.

According to Reuters, Gen. Roberto Vanacci, 54, wrote statements calling Gay men "not normal," claimed the existence of a "gay lobby" intent on brainwashing the world, and appeared to call into question whether Black people can be Italian — an apparent reference to Paola Egonu, an Italian volleyball athlete born to Nigerian parents. He decried what he calls "the tyranny of minorities" and excoriated feminists, environmentalists, people of color, and immigrants.

Little known to the public until excerpts came to light in Italian news outlets on Thursday, Vanacci formerly headed Italy's elite paratrooper unit, carrying out missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Subsequently, he served as defense attache in Moscow until September 2022, when he was expelled due to the Ukraine war. His most recent posting has been to Italy's Military Geographic Institute.

On Thursday, August 17, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said "the personal ramblings of a general" discredited the Italian armed forces. He vowed to open disciplinary proceedings against Vanacci, who as of Friday has been terminated from the army.

Gen. Vanacci defended himself on Italian television outlet Rete4, claiming that he had not expected a firestorm for a book "expressing my thoughts, without offending anyone." Stating that his book falls under constitutionally protected free speech, he claimed he would not take anything back. Italian far-right figures, such as the neo-Fascist group Forza Nuova, rallied around him.