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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Cultivating and Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

USA Fencing is devoted to developing and celebrating diversity, increasing equality throughout our community, and constantly seeking to create an atmosphere where we are empathetic to our differences and everyone within USA Fencing truly has a sense of belonging.

USA Fencing is dedicated to creating a culture of inclusion and opportunity. Our goal is to ensure equity by providing resources that are in line with the needs of our community. Diversity is opening our doors to everyone, inclusion ensures that everyone feels welcome, and equity guarantees that everyone has the necessary tools to succeed.

Adapting your Approach: Creating a Cohesive Conversation Around Parafencing Panel

This session focuses on how you make your club inclusive of parafencers, how to approach first-time athletes and how to bring para to the forefront of conversation.

Women Leaders of USA Fencing

Led by 2021 Olympic hopeful Iman Blow, Stacey Johnson, Jen Oldham and Tasha Poissant discuss the successes, trials and the journey they each took to rise to their seat at the table and what they see the impact of women in fencing will be going forward.

Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Environment

Creating diverse and inclusive environments begins with tough conversations, personal and professional introspective and a commitment to working towards this goal. Led by USOPC Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Nitra Rucker, this session dives into how to approach these facets from a DEI lens.

How to be a BIPOC Ally

Led by Chief Catalyst and Founder of The Equity Project, LLC and The HR Shop, LLC Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler, this session is designed to provide a roadmap for leading, working and serving with allyship in mind. The session addresses tips, techniques, barriers and future-thinking strategies to advance a system where collectiveness is the norm.

Additional Resources

Rise’s goal is to create a nation unified through sports committed to racial equity and social justice. 

Race Forward Series
The Race Forward series is a collection of insights and tools to create a more equitable and inclusive future. These videos are based on three prongs they consider to be the at the heart of equality: listen, learn and engage.

USA Fencing Transgender and Nonbinary Athlete Policy

USA Fencing is committed to ensuring athletes have the opportunity to participate in USA Fencing sanctioned events on a fair, inclusive and safe basis without discrimination. Currently USA Fencing has two divisions — men’s and women’s — that default to using the gender binary to determine participation in each division.

However, we recognize not all individuals’ gender identities are binary, and a gender binary default for participation could potentially cause harm — leaving some individuals to feel excluded and unsafe. Within our divisions, USA Fencing will not discriminate on the basis of gender identity, regardless of sex assigned at birth, or any other form of gender expression for participation in any division. As such, athletes will be permitted to participate in USA Fencing sanctioned events in a manner consistent with their gender identity/ expression, regardless of the gender associated with the sex they were assigned at birth in accordance with the guidelines listed below. 

A. Registration and Participation for Athletes Participating in Domestic Competitions

To participate in a USA Fencing-sanctioned event, athletes are to register with USA Fencing as the gender in which they identify and wish to compete during registration/renewal. Please note, this selection will be logistically binding and athletes will not be permitted to modify their gender during the season. If the athlete registers as a gender other than their gender associated with the sex assigned at birth, they should adhere to the the following requirements:

Youth (Y10, Y12, Y14)

  • Transgender and nonbinary athletes competing in youth events are permitted to compete in the gender category with which they identify, without restriction. 
  • Registration and/or other documents submitted on behalf of a minor must be submitted by, or with the express approval of, a parent or guardian.


  • Transgender and nonbinary athletes competing in youth events are permitted to compete in the gender category with which they identify.
  • Registration and/or other documents submitted on behalf of a minor must be submitted by, or with the express approval of, a parent or guardian.
  • Transgender and nonbinary Cadet athletes who qualify to compete in junior and/or senior competitions must adhere to the requirements for transgender and nonbinary athletes in those divisions (see below).

Junior, Senior and Veteran athletes

See requirements below for national ranking competitions

  • Transgender male (FTM) athletes:
    • Athletes who have received a medical exception for treatment with testosteron for purposes of USA Fencing sanctioned competitions may compete in men's events, and are no longer eligible to compete in women's events.
    • Athletes who are not taking testosterone related to gender transition may participate in either men’s or women’s events.
  • Transgender female (MTF) athletes:
    • Athletes being treated with testosterone suppression medication, for the purposes of USA Fencing-sanctioned competitions may continue to compete in men’s events, but may only compete in women’s events after completing one calendar year (12 months) of testosterone suppression treatment. Proof of compliant hormone therapy must be provided prior to competition. 
  • Nonbinary athletes:
    • Athletes are permitted to compete as the gender of which they identify as at the time of registration. However, if an athletes wishes to compete as a gender opposite of the gender associated with the sex assigned at birth, they must adhere to the aforementioned guidelines for transgender athletes. 

*Restrictions are based on most relevant scientific data:

B. Registration and Participation for Athletes Participating in International Competitions

Any athlete who qualifies for the International Fencing Federation (FIE) World Championship and/or any competitions hosted by the FIE, are to adhere to the compliance requirements setforth by the FIE Transgender Policy. Failure to adhere to FIE transgender policy guidelines impact the athlete’s participation in international competition. 

For the most up-to-date international transgender policies, refer to the International Olympic Committee and FIE.

C. USA Fencing Classification

Transgender athletes will be permitted to keep the fencing classification that was held prior to transitioning. For example, a transgender woman who held an A classification in the men’s division will keep her A classification in the women’s division.

D. USA Fencing National Rankings (points)

If an athlete changes their gender category, points earned under their previous gender category will be forfeited and not applied to the athlete’s record.

E. National Championship Qualification

Athletes who qualify for USA Fencing National Championships must compete in the National Championship event as the gender under which they qualified.

F. Appeals

Appeals are to be reported in accordance with all disciplinary procedures and dispute resolutions as listed in the Athlete Handbook.

G. Anti-Doping Requirements Remain Applicable

In accordance with the FIE, it is the responsibility of the athlete to monitor testosterone level(s), and submit appropriate documentation to satisfy anti-doping policies. 

If hormonal medications utilized for gender transition are listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List USADA can grant a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). The TUE application process is thorough and designed to balance the need to provide athletes access to critical medication while protecting the rights of athletes to compete on a level playing field.

Further information regarding the TUE application process can be found here.

Report of Grievance
Abuse and/or harmful acts towards the transgender and nonbinary community will not be tolerated. Any instances or grievances should be immediately reported to the USA Fencing Safe Sport coordinator and the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. Complete the short online reporting form here.

Policy development governing the inclusion of transgender and nonbinary athletes is an emerging endeavor. As new research on the participation of these athletes and the physiological effects of gender transition on athletic performance becomes available, policies are subject to re-evaluation and change to ensure they reflect the most current evidence-based information.