Danielle McGahey is poised to become the first transgender player to play international cricket after being appointed to Canada’s squad for the Women’s T20 Americas Qualifier, the tournament that serves as a qualifier for the 2024 T20 World Cup.
McGahey, a batter of 29 years old, was born in Australia but relocated to Canada in 2020. McGahey reportedly socially transitioned from male to female in 2020, followed by a medical transition a few months later in 2021, as reported by BBC Sport.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed on Thursday that McGahey met the requirements for male-to-female (MTF) transition to play international cricket.
“We can confirm that Danielle completed the process required by the ICC’s Player Eligibility Regulations,” an ICC spokesperson told C2Dcricinfo.
“As a result, she has been deemed eligible to participate in international women’s cricket because she meets the MTF’s transgender eligibility criteria.”
McGahey told BBC Sport that she was “absolutely honoured” to compete as a transgender athlete at the international level. I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to represent my community.
McGahey participated in four games for Canada at the South American Women’s Championship, contested in Brazil last October and won by Canada. This competition did not have international standing.
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States will compete in the Americas Qualifier in Los Angeles, United States, from September 4 to 11.
The champion will advance to the global Qualifiers, where teams from other regional Qualifiers will compete for places in the upcoming T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.
In 2021, the ICC revised its Player Eligibility regulations. In Article 3, which deals with eligibility based on gender recognition, the term transgender is defined as “individuals whose gender identity is different from the biological sex assigned to them at birth (whether they are pre- or post-puberty, and whether or not they have undergone any form of medical intervention)”.
For a male transitioning to female, testosterone levels are the most important metric and must be “less than 5 nmol/l (nanomole per liter) continuously for at least 12 months, and that she is willing, able, and able to continue to keep it below that level as long as she continues to compete in the female category of competition.”
The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) current regulations are predominantly based on the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) guidelines from November 2021, a 10-principle approach it offers as a framework to sporting bodies, in which it attempts to strike a balance between inclusive participation and fair competition.
However, this approach has been divisive, with some scientists and medical professionals criticizing the elimination of the requirement for trans women to reduce testosterone levels and the assumption of no performance advantage.
The new framework has been criticized for prioritizing inclusion over fairness, and critics view it as a reversal of the 2015 IOC regulations that primarily relied on the science of testosterone levels.
These regulations required transgender women athletes to maintain testosterone levels below 10 nmol/l and to take testosterone-suppressing medication for a minimum of one year.
The IOC stated in 2022 that each sport should have its own regulations, but many sports have maintained their 2015 regulations.
Several sports organizations, including rugby, athletics, and cycling, prohibit transgender women from competing in women’s events.
Although McGahey is eligible, the ICC is currently conducting a comprehensive review of its guidelines under the direction of its medical advisory committee.
Since March, regulations have been under review, and it remains possible that they will be revised.
McGahey is currently on the precipice of achieving history.