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Canada’s First Transgender Cricketer Makes History as Representative

Australian-born Danielle McGahey will join the Canadian women’s cricket team to compete in the 2024 Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

The 29-year-old moved to Canada from Australia in February 2020 before transitioning in November and then medically transitioning in May 2021.

She has fulfilled the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) criteria, which requires athletes to have less than 5 nmol/L1 of testosterone for at least 12 months and must be “ready, willing, and able” to keep it below that level during their time in competition.

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“In order to determine [my testosterone levels], I’ve been doing blood tests every month now for over two years. I also have to put in my player profile who I have played against and how many runs I’ve scored,” Ms. McGahey told the BBC.

“A lot of work with my doctor sending my medical information through to the ICC,” she said. “They have a dedicated medical officer who looks over all of the information provided, and determines whether or not I have provided enough for an expert panel to make a decision.”

In response, women’s rights activist Jennifer Gingrich was critical of the ICC’s decision.

“This is so unfair to women athletes, @ICC. There’s a reason men’s cricket is played with a heavier ball than women’s and on a pitch with longer boundaries. Men can hit a ball harder and farther,” she wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Generally, in cricket, men on average will also bowl at faster speeds than women.

Sporting Bodies Grapple With Transgender Question

The ICC’s move comes as other international sporting bodies move to ban transgender individuals from participating in women’s sports, including rugby union, rugby league, cycling, swimming, and athletics.

In July, the International Cycling Union (UCI) issued its ban after U.S. rider Austin Killips became the first transgender person to win an official cycling event in May.

It also followed the victory by 37-year-old Na Hwa-rin at the Gangwon Sports Festival in eastern Gangwon Province of South Korea.

“From now on, female transgender athletes who have transitioned after (male) puberty will be prohibited from participating in women’s events on the UCI international calendar—in all categories—in the various disciplines,” the cycling body said in a statement.

The UCI said the move was necessary to ensure “equal opportunities” between athletes.

Meanwhile, some organisations have embraced transgender athletes entering their sports.

Gymnastics Australia days earlier released its new guidelines on transgender individuals allowing them to compete and enter changerooms that best align with their “gender identity.”

Section 5 of its Guidelines for the Inclusion of Transgender and Gender Diverse People in Community Gymnastics (pdf) says individuals may “wear the uniform of their choosing as it aligns with their gender identity.”

In Section 6, Gymnastics Australia says it recognises the existing difficulties with having adequate changerooms and shower facilities.

“Gymnastics Australia supports the right of people to use changing and bathroom facilities which best reflects their gender identity,” the organisation says.

“Where new facilities are built, or upgrades are taking place, Gymnastics Australia and Australian Gymnastics Organisations will advocate for options to create inclusive spaces.”

Section 7 says that for all community gymnastics events, individuals can participate in events that best reflect “their gender identity.”

“For mixed-gender competitions, people can participate in a manner which best reflects their gender identity. Rules for mixed-gender competitions will be applied based on gender identity,” the guidelines say.

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