Danielle McGahey: cricketer to become first transgender player in international T20

Danielle McGahey, an Australian-born cricket player, is set to become the first transgender cricketer to play an official T20 international.

The 29-year-old, who moved to Canada in Feb 2020 and transitioned to a woman in November the same year, has met the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) transgender guidelines, meaning she can play in upcoming matches, having undergone medical transition since May 2021.

McGahey has been named in the Canada Women’s squad that will attempt to qualify for the 2024 Women’s T20 World Cup, and is set to feature in a qualifying tournament in Los Angeles between Sep 4-11.

McGahey’s selection comes at a time when several sports have toughened restrictions on transgender athletes because of safety and fairness concerns. Athletics, cycling and swimming have all changed their transgender policies in the past 12 months, while both codes of rugby have also moved to protect sport for biologically-born women.

However, cricket has not followed suit, with the ICC’s player eligibility regulations – last updated in 2021 – stating that transwomen can compete in women’s matches providing they demonstrate that testosterone levels in their blood serum have been below 5nmol per litre continuously for at least 12 months, and that they will commit to keeping it below that level for the duration of their career as a woman.

The regulations also state that a transgender player must produce a “written and signed declaration in a form satisfactory to the designated medical officer that her gender identity is female”.

“I am absolutely honoured,” McGahey told the BBC. “To be able to represent my community is something I never dreamed I would be able to do.

“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… 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.

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

“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.”

Canada’s 2021 Census showed that one in every 302 citizens said they are transgender of non-binary, with 100,815 of 30.5 million respondents aged over 15 making use of a new question that added cisgender, transgender and non-binary to ‘at birth’ selections.

An ICC statement said: “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.”

A spokesperson for Cricket Canada said: “Danielle’s selection was based on ICC’s player eligibility regulations for male-to-female transgender players.

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

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