Danielle McGahey, potentially the first transgender cricketer in an official international match, is part of Canada’s squad for a Women’s T20 World Cup qualifying tournament in Los Angeles. This has triggered a backlash against the ICC. While she meets ICC eligibility criteria, the move has raised questions about fairness in women’s sports. Find out more here!
The First Transgender Cricketer To Participate in an Official International Match
In a sporting world’s first, Danielle McGahey could become the first transgender cricketer to participate in an official international match after being named in Canada’s squad for a Women’s T20 World Cup qualifying tournament.
McGahey has been picked for the four-team Americas qualifier to be held in Los Angeles in September, at which Canada will face Brazil, Argentina, and the USA, with the winners advancing to the global qualifier for the 2024 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.
Transgender people have been banned from participating in elite women’s competitions in other sports, such as swimming, cycling, athletics, rowing, rugby league and rugby union.
“I Am Absolutely Honored. To Be Able To Represent My Community Is Something I Never Dreamed I Would Be Able To Do”
This announcement comes after the ICC (International Cricket Council) awarded the 9th edition of the T20 Men’s World Cup, scheduled to be held in 2024, to the West Indies and the USA.
McGahey emigrated from Australia to Canada in February 2020, socially transitioned to a woman in November 2020, and started medically transitioning in May 2021.
She told BBC Sport: “I am absolutely honored. To be able to represent my community is something I never dreamed I would be able to do.”
McGahey, 29, satisfies all the eligibility criteria the International Cricket Council (ICC) has set for male-to-female transgender players.
“The Concentration of Testosterone in Her Serum Has Been Less Than 5 Nmol/L1… For 12 Months”
What does the ICC say about transgender players?
The ICC’s player eligibility regulations became effective in 2018. They were amended in 2021 to say that a player must “provide a written and signed declaration, in a form satisfactory to the Designated Medical Officer, that her gender identity is female.”
The regulations also stipulate that “the concentration of testosterone in her serum has been less than 5 nmol/L1 continuously for a period of at least 12 months, and that she is ready, willing and able to continue to keep it below that level for so long as she continues to compete in the female category of competition”.
“All Your Medical Information, History of Puberty, Any Surgeries”
McGahey said: “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.”
“A lot of work with my doctor sending my medical information through to the ICC and 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.
“It’s very personal in terms of the information you are giving over – all your medical information, history of puberty, any surgeries. There’s a lot in it. But the protocols are there and it has been used as intended.”
88.7% Said No to Transgender Athletes in Women’s Sports
X Reactions were mostly unified in shock and defiance. An online poll run by WitnessUK asked, “Should transgender athletes be allowed to compete in women’s sports?” received 1414 votes. The results were overwhelmingly against it, with 88.7% saying No!
Another user said, “Whatever eligibility criteria she filled, she will always have a genetic size and strength advantage. I’m all for equality and support people having the freedom to be who they want to be, but this isn’t fair to other female cricketers who worked hard to reach the top of their sport”
Others came with even more fury: “That’s the problem right there; you can’t just choose to be who you want; a man is a man, and a woman is a woman; you can’t just choose to be a woman or a man that’s blasphemy.”
“Funny How It’s Never a Female in a Male Sport, It’s Always a Male in a Female Sport. I Wonder Why This Is?”
Another contributor stated: “Funny how it’s never a female in a male sport, it’s always a male in a female sport. I wonder why this is?”
McGahey previously played in four international T20 matches in October 2022 at the South American Championships, where Canada was invited along to take part as guests.
As those matches did not hold official T20 international status, McGahey was able to compete as a transgender woman without having to fulfil ICC criteria.
The top two teams at the end of the global qualifier will advance to the World Cup proper in September and October 2024.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vasiq Eqbal. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.