Cricket Australia will continue to prioritise inclusion over science when it comes to deciding whether transgender players can compete in the women’s game, chief executive Nick Hockley has told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) followed the global chiefs of swimming, rugby union, cycling and athletics last month when it ruled any player who had been through male puberty would not be able to compete in the international women’s game.
Cricket Australia still dictates who can play in all domestic competitions, however, and Hockley said the body would stick to the rules it put in place four years ago.
“We were really proud in 2019 to put out a leading set of transgender guidelines, both for the community and for elite cricket, and they were based absolutely on the philosophy of inclusion,” Hockley told the newspaper.
“The ICC guidelines go a bit further in terms of it takes quite a scientific approach. We’ve expressed that we think that inclusion is the priority, so we will continue to work with the ICC to express our views.”
The ICC said November’s ruling, which followed a nine-month consultation process, would be reviewed after two years.
Transgender advocacy groups say excluding trans athletes amounts to discrimination. Critics of transgender inclusion in women’s sport say going through male puberty imbues athletes with a huge musculo-skeletal advantage that transition does not mitigate.
Cricket Australia’s rules allow transgender players to compete in the elite domestic women’s game if they have maintained testosterone levels of less than 10 nanograms per deciliter for 12 months before nominating for a team.
The rules for community women’s cricket demand only that a transgender player demonstrates a “commitment that their gender identity is consistent with their gender identity in other aspects of everyday life”.
Hockley said the impact of the ICC ruling on Australia was hypothetical as there were currently no transgender cricketers in the country hoping to play international cricket.
“We will continue to work closely with the ICC to express our views,” he said. “I think we need to be really inclusive and we also need to be very mindful of player wellbeing and mental health considerations as well.”