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Transgender women denied entry into female gaming tournament, asked to produce “female passports”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The group of players denied entry into the tournament turned out to be men pretending to be transgender women as a joke. That report can be found here.)

A Counter Strike: Global Offensive team containing transgender women was denied entry to a women-only tournament run by ESL.

Sly Buehl Rigilio, a transgender gamer from Sicily, Italy, told BuzzFeed News’ Lane Sainty her team was rejected from entering the online tournament for not appearing “female enough.” The tournament, which set to start last week and organized by the Munich Finest Gaming company, initially rejected Rigilio’s signup with an email that read: “No males are allowed. Please take care fake your gender can be (penalized).”

When Rigilio asked support staff the detailed reason behind the rejection, BuzzFeed reports, while filing a discrimination complaint, she was told her team could join the tournament if all players produced female passports. Two more attempts for registration by Rigilio were denied with the same reasoning.

Anna Rozwandowicz, ESL director of communications, told BuzzFeed that Rigilio’s team was not denied entry based on being transgender, but because they failed to produce a female passport, citing German common law and the need to abide by the “legal gender” of each contestant.

“The bottom line of this dispute is that the Female Open tournament is a German event, held in Germany, organized by a German company (Munich Finest Gaming), and as such the rulebooks have to comply with German common law,” she told BuzzFeed News. “And in Germany at this point, your official, legal gender is the one that’s listed in your passport or any other government-issued ID.”

The rejection process was also clarified to be automatic, a measure put in place to reject every new team sign up in order to prevent trolls from making fraudulent signups, something Rozwandowicz told BuzzFeed happened multiple times. To Rigilio, that measure was poorly explained, which led to her suspicion that they “don’t actually do that to everyone.”

According to the tournament’s rules, every team with five female players is able to play, further detailing that if the tournament isn’t “sure about the gender of any player, we will need an official documentation stating a player’s gender is female.”

Rigilio alleges that the rejection had more to do with the fact that her team not looking female enough and said gender should not be determined by documentation like a passport.

“Some of us have already started (hormone replacement therapy), and some others are fairly new to coming out and expressing themselves as a female,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I know some of the girls in the group have yet to go through the trouble of getting their info changed on [their passports], so we are out of luck.”


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