Cricket Australia, the sport’s national governing body, this month created inclusive policies to allow transgender and gender diverse players to compete in accordance with their gender identity.
Not only do the new policies bring Cricket Australia closer in line with the International Cricket Council’s Eligibility on the Basis of Gender Recognition, but Cricket Australia will also provide “guidelines for grassroots level cricket [to] assist clubs, players, administrators, coaches and other volunteers [in delivering] a ‘safe, welcoming and inclusive environment, free of harassment and discrimination for gender diverse players.’”
Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts said the new policies aim to welcome community members of all affirmed gender identities to experience the inclusive culture of cricket at every level of the game. This includes providing “robust guidance for clubs and associations” to encourage their participation while also forestalling harassment and discrimination.
Roberts said, “Discrimination of any sort has no place in the game and all of Australian Cricket is driven to ensure all cricketers can participate in a harassment-free environment.”
He added that trans and gender diverse players will be “subject to certain criteria” under the new policies to “strike a balance between the opportunity to participate and ensuring fair competition.”
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the new guidelines “heavy-handed” and “mystifying” over worries that “‘mums and dads who run suburban and country cricket clubs could be prosecuted’ for failing to comply” with the new policies, reports The Guardian.
Upon announcement of its new trans-inclusive policies, Cricket Australia released the following video featuring Erica James, a transgender cricketer from Universities Women’s Cricket Club in Sydney, New South Wales:
Today we take a major step to ensure inclusiveness is at the heart of Australian Cricket.— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) August 7, 2019
Learn more about the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in the game: https://t.co/XbewXwazH4#ASportForAll pic.twitter.com/cRlM2TKx21
What Cricket Australia’s transgender policy actually says
Trans players must tell Cricket Australia’s head of integrity about their gender identity, and the head will keep this information confidential.
The head of integrity will then convene an expert panel to review the players’ “nomination.” During this time, they may request additional info from the player, their medical team or more expert opinions.
The policy states that trans and gender diverse players must then “demonstrate... being consistent with their gender identity in other aspects of everyday life,” and female-to-male trans players above the age of 16 must “establish that the concentration of testosterone in serum has been less than 10 nmol/L1 continuously for a period of no less than 12 months prior to nominating their gender identity.”
It adds that trans players should “consider providing to the expert panel, medical history of their concentration of testosterone in serum levels for the 12-month period at regular intervals,” as well as any other supporting documentation that substantiates their gender identity.
Despite this, the policy states that no player will be required to demonstrate that they’ve undergone “any medical assessment, surgery and/or treatment” or provide legal documentation affirming their identity through a medical or government body.
If approved, the elite panel will issue a certificate of eligibility to the player. If unapproved, the panel will deliver a written explain of their decision to the player. If the expert panel has any doubts, the player can address the panel’s concerns before it makes a final determination.
Cricket Australia’s anti-doping officer will help provide guidance so that trans players comply with the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Doping Code and/or Cricket Australia’s anti-doping code while also applying for any necessary therapeutic use exemptions for the use of testosterone, a usually prohibited substance.
Authorized representatives of Cricket Australia can contact the expert panel if they have any concerns about the “strength, stamina or physique” of any trans or gender diverse Cricket Australia player. All concerns will be handled confidentially and promptly to examine if a “relevant disparity” exists between a trans player in question and other athletes.
If such a disparity seems to exist, the panel may ask the trans or gender diverse athlete to submit to biomechanical and physical assessments with Cricket Australia’s sport science sport medicine (SSSM) manager. The panel may also dismiss concerns of such disparities if their submission is found to be “frivolous or vexatious.” Rulings on such matters can also be appealed by trans athletes.
The policy clearly states, “Cricket Australia does not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or bullying in elite cricket” and points to its pre-existing anti-harassment guidelines for handling such incidents.
Any trans cricket player in the process of transitioning can also receive additional support services upon request from Cricket Australia’s head of integrity.
The new policies won’t apply to intersex individuals who compete under the gender assigned to them at birth. The policies also explicitly state, “Nothing in this policy is intended to limit or effect the participation of any female or transgender female in the male category of elite cricket.”