US Chess Transgender Policy

At their quarterly meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, the US Chess Federation’s Executive Board adopted the following transgender policy on May 20, 2018, by a unanimous vote of 7-0: “The Executive Board moves to adopt the following transgender policy as provided by legal counsel: Allow a person to identify as they choose, and allow each person one change to their gender identification. If an individual attempts a second change to gender identification, at that time the individual must provide US Chess a birth certificate, and the birth gender indicated on the birth certificate will be used to determine gender for US Chess purposes.” This policy:

  • was developed in consultation with US Chess corporate counsel;
  • codifies current US Chess practices about self-identification;
  • recognizes that there is a complicated, evolving legal landscape in which state and federal laws are often at odds.

The new US Chess policy reflects a position that will allow for players to affiliate with US Chess regardless of gender identification. As the US Chess mission statement is “empowering people through chess one move at a time,” the organization acted to be both inclusive and in alignment with best practices. Further, one of our core values is customer service, within which we strive to be responsive, adaptive, and proactive in providing services to our customers. Since US Chess records are sometimes inaccurate in certain data fields because many memberships are initially taken through affiliates, incomplete or incorrect gender data that is updated does not count toward an official change relative to this policy. Our research on other organizations that have adopted similar policies clearly shows that instances of individuals who will abuse or ‘game the system’ are exceedingly rare. But most importantly, this new policy speaks to another of US Chess’ core values, accessibility: Chess can and should be enjoyed by individuals regardless of social or economic status or physical or developmental capability.


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