Year of birth missing
1 min

One gay T-shirt move and checkmate.

BY NOREEN FAGAN – Who knew that the dress code for giving away prizes at a
chess competition was a suit and tie?

CJ de Mooi, the president of the English Chess Federation, didn’t. At the British chess championships, held in Sheffield, de Mooi went
for the casual activist look — a bright orange T-shirt bearing the slogan “Some
people are gay, get over it.”

Tut, tut.

The UK Guardian
reports that the championship’s arbiter, Lara Barnes, approached de Mooi prior to
the awards ceremony, urging him to change his outfit or limit himself to presenting prizes only
to the adults.

"I refused. I was either going to present all the
prizes or none at all,” de Mooi said.

Barnes, of course, said she didn’t ask de Mooi to change the
T-shirt  — she believes in gay
rights, some of her best friends own the T-shirt, blah, blah, blah — but  she
felt prize-givers should wear suits and ties.

In response to the hoo-hah, The Guardian’s chess
correspondent, Leonard Barden, said, “There has never been a dress code
before. It’s not something that happens in chess. It’s supposed to be
non-discriminatory.”

Even Laura Doughty, the deputy chief executive of Stonewall UK, the gay advocacy organization that produces the T-shirts, was puzzled by the fuss. “We think our
T-shirts are lovely and don’t see why anyone would object to anyone wearing
one, least of all chess players.”

According to de Mooi, he had worn the T-shirt
throughout the event and no one uttered a complaint: “None of the parents,
none of the kids, said anything to me that wasn’t completely positive. Quite a
few of them said, ‘We love the T-shirt. Well done for wearing it.’”

I think that Barnes took her role as arbiter too seriously.
Maybe she should stick to ensuring that the rules and laws of chess are adhered
to and leave the dress code alone.

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