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Cricket Australia gender inclusive guidelines spell the ‘death’ of women’s sport

Cricket Australia gender inclusive guidelines spell the ‘death’ of women’s sport
August 8, 2019

Cricket Australia's newly released guidelines on including transgender and gender diverse people in elite and community cricket have been described as "a death knell of women’s sport" by Western Sydney University Paediatrics Professor John Whitehall.

Speaking on Sydney radio station 2GB after Cricket Australia's release of transgender-inclusive guidelines for players across amateur and professional cricket, Professor Whitehall said the policy would be detrimental to female sport, stating "it’s a death knell of women’s sport because at all ages on the sporting fields males do better than females.

“This will bring unfair competition by males (and) will be the end of competitive women’s sport internationally.”

Cricket Australia’s release of its gender inclusive guidelines follow a series of talks with key stakeholders that commenced in October 2018, in which they developed an Elite Cricket Policy and Guidelines for Community Cricket to support players electing to participate in cricket in line with their gender identity, whether or not this aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.

The Elite Cricket Policy is aligned to the International Cricket Council’s Eligibility on the Basis of Gender Recognition and provides transgender and gender diverse cricketers guidance on how they can compete at the highest levels of the sport, consistent with their gender identity.

The policy also permits transgender cricketers who are born overseas to compete in Australian domestic competitions as there is alignment with ICC policy.

Cricket Australia Chief Executive, Kevin Roberts stated “it doesn’t make any sense that today, people are discriminated against, harassed or excluded, because of who they are.

“Today we demonstrate our commitment to include people with an affirmed gender identity in the game at every level and ensure all people in our communities experience Australian cricket’s inclusive culture

“As strength, stamina and physique are all relevant factors when competing in competitive sport, transgender and gender diverse players will be supported to participate in elite cricket, subject to certain criteria through the implementation of this policy.

“Our dedication to a fair and inclusive sport across international and domestic competitions sees the policy strike a balance between the opportunity to participate and ensuring fair competition.

The Guidelines for Community Cricket aim to assist clubs, players, administrators, coaches and other volunteers deliver a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment, free of harassment and discrimination for gender diverse players at the game’s grassroots.

As an additional measure, a referral process to an Expert Panel has been established to ensure fair and meaningful competition.

Roberts added “from a community cricket level, the guidelines provide robust guidance for clubs and associations to encourage the participation of transgender and gender diverse players and support frameworks for people who are subject to any form of harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sex or gender identity,” Roberts added.

“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.”

The guidelines allow transgender players to play with the gender they identify with and clubs in community cricket “must not ask any player to undergo a medical examination for the purposes of gender verification”.

Click here to view the policy for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse players in Elite Cricket.

Click here to view the guidelines for inclusion of transgender and gender diverse players in Community Cricket.

Image used for illustrative purposes only.

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