Danielle McGahey, the first transgender player to participate in international cricket, will no longer be able to compete in women’s international games due to a key change in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) gender eligibility regulations. The ICC board approved the new rules on Tuesday, stating that any player who has transitioned from male to female and has undergone male puberty will be ineligible to play in women’s international cricket, regardless of any gender reassignment surgery or treatment they may have undergone.
McGahey, a 29-year-old batter originally from Australia who moved to Canada in 2020, underwent a male-to-female medical transition in 2021. She made her international debut for Canada in the Women’s T20 Americas Qualifier in September 2023, which served as a pathway tournament to the 2024 T20 World Cup. McGahey has played six T20Is so far, scoring 118 runs at an average of 19.66 and a strike rate of 95.93.
The timing of the ICC’s decision has been deemed unfortunate by Brazil Women’s captain Roberta Moretti Avery, against whose side McGahey played two T20Is and achieved her highest score of 48. Avery respected the ICC’s ruling but expressed concern about the impact on McGahey’s mental health. She stated, “Danielle McGahey was allowed to play in the recent World Cup Qualifier on the basis of the rules that applied at the time. As a result, she was subjected to a lot of abuse from people who have never met her and who do not understand the difficult journey she has been on.”
Avery further added, “It’s unfortunate that this decision has been made after the event, once Danielle’s hopes had been raised and after she has already been exposed to a huge amount of scrutiny and abuse. The ICC lifted the hopes of a whole community, and it feels like those hopes have now been dashed.”
The ICC’s new policy was finalized after a nine-month consultation process with various stakeholders in the sport. The board emphasized that the regulations prioritize the protection of the integrity of the women’s game, safety, fairness, and inclusion. The policy will be reviewed within two years.
ICC CEO Geoff Allardice emphasized the importance of inclusivity but stated that the priority was to protect the integrity of the international women’s game and ensure player safety.
It is worth noting that the review conducted by the ICC medical advisory committee, chaired by Dr. Peter Harcourt, specifically pertains to gender eligibility for international women’s cricket. The regulations at the domestic level will be determined by each individual member board and may be influenced by local legislation, as stated by the ICC.
The ICC’s decision has sparked discussions and debates about the complexities of transgender inclusion in sports, highlighting the ongoing challenge of balancing inclusivity with fairness and maintaining the integrity of women’s sports.