Transgender athletes banned from playing international women's cricket

The International Cricket Council ruled that transgender women are not eligible to play cricket regardless of any gender-affirming surgery they may have had.

Photo of cricket player wearing red Canadian jersey after ICC banned transgender women from competing
Image: X @MIrfanBashir4

Under new rules announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday, November 21, transgender women are banned from playing cricket at the international level.

The ICC board determined that any transgender women who have, “been through any form of male puberty will not be eligible to participate in the international women’s game regardless of any surgery or gender reassignment treatment they may have undertaken.”

This decision comes after Canada’s Danielle McGahey became the first international transgender cricket player to play in an official international match. She played for Canada in a women’s T20 fixture against Brazil in September, and she excelled during the 2023 Women T20 National Championship, where she made 237 runs in three innings.

McGahey met all of the eligibility criteria to compete based on the ICC’s previous regulations, which had been in place since October 2018 and were amended in April 2021.


Following the annoucement to modify the gender regulations, McGahey shared, “While I hold my opinions on the ICC’s decision, they are irrelevant. What matters is the message being sent to millions of trans women today, a message saying that we don’t belong.”

She added, “I promise I will not stop fighting for equality for us in our sport; we reserve the right to play cricket at the highest level; we are not a threat to the integrity or safety of the sport.”

ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice said: “Inclusivity is incredibly important to us as a sport, but our priority was to protect the integrity of the international women’s game and the safety of players.”

He also claimed that the new gender eligibility regulations were “founded in science,” even though there is little to no evidence to support this. In fact, a report commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport demonstrates that transgender female athletes have no inherent advantage over their cisgender counterparts in elite sport.

The report includes over a decade of research on the effect of testosterone on the body, the history of gender categories in sports, myths about trans athletes, and accounts of discrimination and violence against trans women. It concludes that trans women have largely been banned from sports based on false research and transphobic policies.

While cricket is the latest sport to ban transgender women from competing, this decision follows several other elite women’s sports organisations that have recently banned trans athletes, including swimming, cycling, and rugby.

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