Cricket Australia has announced a new policy allowing transgender and gender diverse people to play cricket at the highest level.
Cricket Australia held conversations over six months with various stakeholders in the sport to develop new guidelines which encompass both elite and community level cricket. They agreed to open the doors to encourage more diverse gender groups.
Cricket Australia explained the policy would support players choosing to play cricket in line with their gender identity.
Cricket Australia's CEO, Kevin Roberts, said "It doesn't make any sense that today, people are discriminated against, harassed or excluded, because of who they are. And that's not right.
"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."
According to new directions set out by the policy, transgender or gender diverse players looking to play in the female elite category will need to show concentrations of testosterone in serum less than ten nanomoles per litre continuously for 12 months or more.
Roberts agreed that there is a great need for more inclusion within the sport, Cricket Australia still needed to establish "a fair and meaningful [elite] competition".
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Community cricket guidelines reveal a commitment to delivering a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment, free of harassment and discrimination for gender diverse players at the game's grassroots. Safe spaces for transgender people are also being suggested, as well as gender-neutral spaces within changing rooms.
Former Australia cricketer, Alex Blackwell, played an integral role in Cricket Australia's development of the new policy and has long campaigned for inclusion within the sport. Blackwell has an impressive 251 caps for Australia and is a proud LGBTQ activist.
"Australian cricket has a wonderful purpose, and that's to be Australia's favourite sport and a sport for all Australians, and it's essential that we live by that, and we walk the talk," Blackwell said.
Australian cricketer, Megan Schutt, added "inclusion matters in every sense. Cricket Australia's vision is to be a sport for all, so everyone deserves to be included.
"To have a policy and guidelines that include transgender and gender, diverse players will create a better environment for everybody to play the game."
The news has proven contentious, with many questioning how fair the new policy is and its potential impact on female elite teams. It raises the question, is cricket in Australia ready for these changes?
The issue cuts across the arenas of gender identity, inclusivity, sport and fairness. Cricket Australia has made a statement with this new policy and has opened up a beloved national game to a whole nation, regardless of gender identity.
The acceptance of trans athletes into elite female sport has proven to be a controversial topic, with much-expressing concern that the physical advantages of trans females give them an undue competitive advantage.
However, the most significant impact of this new policy is likely to be found at a community and recreational level in local cricket clubs. Cricket Australia's suggestion of gender-neutral changing rooms would bypass sensitive issues of misgendering for gender diverse players, but reconfiguring facilities takes time.
It may also take time for satisfying the concerns of different groups is not possible if their priorities fundamentally collide. Opening up space for more participation and engaging new fans in Australia's most prominent sport can mean only the expansion of the game as a whole.News Now - Sport News