League Revising Rules After Rejecting Transgender Team From CSGO Tournament

by Tanner Dedmon


The ESL is working on revising its rules regarding tournaments and gender after a team of transgender players was barred from competing in an ESL-sponsored Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament due to their appearances.

Initially reported by Buzzfeed on May 4, transgender player Sly Buehl Rigilio attempted to register her team in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 5on5 Female Open Summer 2017 only to have their initial push into esports met with a denial that stated “No males are allowed. Please take care fake your gender can be penalized.”

After following up on the request with Munich Finest Gaming, the organization responsible for organizing the tournament, she was informed that there would need to be proof of gender in the form of a passport in order to have their team accepted into the tournament. While Munich Finest Gaming also added in their reply that they couldn't understand why the team was so upset about not being allowed entry to the tournament, the head of communications at ESL, Anna Rozwandowicz, said that she did indeed understand their frustration, but that the decision was made in order to comply with German law.

Rigilio stated that such documentation would not be possible to present as the team's members were at various stages in their identities as transgender individuals and did not possess such gender-affirming documentation. She also noted that the issue was not just a matter of what was on a passport or any other type of documentation and that the issue was much bigger than that.

"Gender isn't just as simple as what was written on your old passport, there's more to it," she said to BuzzFeed.

After the news broke, Kotaku reached out to the ESL to follow up on the situation and see if there were any plans to change the tournament rules. The response from Rozwandowicz stated that the organization was now working with a diversity-focused organization known as AnyKey, saying that she wanted to make sure they revise the rules according to AnyKey's recommendations to ensure that similar events don't happen in the future.

Rigilio was not quite reassured, telling Kotaku that she was discouraged by both the decision and the lack of apology and was reconsidering applying for additional tournaments for fear of facing similar discrimination.