First trans woman to compete in international cricket match: ‘I never dreamed I would do this’

A Canadian cricket player is set to become the first trans woman to compete in an international match. 

Danielle McGahey has been named by Cricket Canada as part of the country’s squad as they compete to qualify for nest year’s Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

Canada will take on Argentina, Brazil and the United States in the ICC Americas Qualifiers in Los Angeles next week, where they will vie for a place in the global play-offs.  

A native Australian, McGahey moved to Canada in February 2020 and has spoken of her pride at representing her adoptive country on the international stage. 

Speaking to BBC Sport, she said: “I am absolutely honoured. To be able to represent my community is something I never dreamed I would be able to do.”

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has not sought to ban trans women from competing at elite level outright as other sports, such as cycling, swimming and athletics, have, instead requiring athletes to demonstrate “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”.

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‘Blood tests every month for over two years’

Alongside this, a trans player must provide the ICC with a “written and signed declaration, in a form satisfactory to the designated medical officer, that her gender identity is female”. 

McGahey said: “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 medical information to the ICC… they have a dedicated 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.

“The need to do blood tests every month is probably the biggest challenge because when you are playing cricket, you are travelling a lot.”

She went on to say: “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.”

Sports bodies banning trans women

In recent months, a number of sporting bodies have put regulations in place which specifically exclude trans women from playing elite-level sports.

Most recently, in July, the world cycling governing body – Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) – banned trans women who had transitioned after male puberty from competing in women’s categories. 

Prior to this, trans women were able to compete in the women’s category if their testosterone level was 2.5 nanomoles per litre or below.  

Now, trans women who transitioned after male puberty will be forced to compete in the men’s category, which has been renamed “men/open”.

The UCI’s policy review followed British Cycling’s decision in May to ban trans women from female events. They also introduced an open category.  

McGahey follows Quinn – Canada’s out trans, non-binary football player who competed in this year’s Women’s World Cup – on to the world stage. 

A spokesperson for Cricket Canada said McGahey’s selection was based on the ICC’s player eligibility regulations for male-to-female [MTF] transgender players.

“Danielle sent through her application to the ICC, and Cricket Canada followed the process as per the ICC rules, which made [her] selection to the Canadian team possible,” they said. 

And a statement from the global governing body stated: “We can confirm that Danielle went through the process as required under the ICC’s player eligibility regulations and as a result has been deemed eligible to participate in international women’s cricket on the basis that she satisfies the MTF transgender eligibility criteria.”

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