Transgender women banned from tournament and told: ‘no males allowed’

Elena Cherubini May 5, 2017
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A group of transgender women was banned from participating in an online gaming competition and told: “no males are allowed”.

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 5on5 Female Open Summer 2017 tournament, starting on April 30, was hosted by the Electronic Sports League (ESL).

Sly Buehl Rigilio, a transgender woman living in Italy, entered her group in the competition on April 28, but their entry was rejected by an ESL administrator.

The answer stated: “No males are allowed. Please take care fake your gender can be penalised. [sic]”


Rigilio told Buzzfeed that she believed the reason behind the rejection was that their photographs did not look “female enough”.

She said: “I almost broke down in tears; here I am thinking we finally have a shot to shine and show our true colours to the gaming world.

“And then we get shut down … because we didn’t look female enough for them.”

After the rejection, Rigilio asked Munich Finest Gaming company, the tournament organiser, for an explanation and was told the group had to supply their passports to be manually entered.

In an email to Munich Finest Gaming, Rigilio called the company’s behaviour “completely disgusting”.

ESL’s director of communications, Anna Rozwandowicz, said the rejection was not because the team is transgender but because they did not supply female passports.

Rozwandowicz added that since the tournament is held in Germany, where your official legal gender is the one stated on your passport, those rules had to be followed.

“I completely understand the team’s frustration at the situation, but I also understand that our admins have done their jobs by following the rules as it was required of them,” she said.

Rigilio said the company should have mentioned in the rules that transgender women were not allowed so her group would have not “wasted their time”.

“It’s extremely upsetting and I wish we could be treated like normal people, because we are just that. Just when I thought gaming could be our outlet, we were wrong,” she said.

However, the tournament rules state that if the company is unsure about the gender of any player, it can ask for official documentation to prove the competitor’s gender.

This was because male players tried to enter the tournament as a joke, thus undermining the goal of developing a female eSports presence.

More: Europe, gaming, Germany, Italy, LGBT, Trans, Transgender

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