This week Cricket Australia made a formal announcement regarding their controversial decision of gender inclusivity. According to the new system, cricketers would be allowed to play according to the gender with which they identify and not their biologically born gender. This is the new policy in place for both amateur and professional cricket. Even though some are happy about the decision, some consider it the end of women’s cricket in the country.
Promoting Inclusivity in Sport
According to the CEO of Cricket Australia, Kevin Roberts, the policy is driven by their desire to ensure fair and inclusive play for all cricketers of the country. Clubs won’t be allowed to require these players to undergo a medical examination to determine whether they are allowed to play or not, yet players who would want to play according to their identified gender would have to produce statistics of 12 consecutive months indicating testosterone levels below ten nanomoles per litre.
He furthermore stated that discrimination won’t be allowed within the world of cricket in Australia and that this policy will enable transgender players to be able to represent the country in elite levels. It will also apply to the grassroots level, and even in clubs run within neighbourhoods by parents, children would be allowed to play according to the gender with which they identify. This matter is so severe that one article was published already, stating that parents who are denying children this right could be prosecuted.
Hence guidelines on incorporating the new policy would be communicated to all local clubs. These guidelines would create a place of free and inclusive involvement for all players, coaches and volunteers. Australian women’s cricketer, Megan Schutt, echoes Roberts, in her excitement. She believes that the policy would create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, expressed his objections to the plan. He felt that it is an inappropriate way to enforce clubs to deal with the matter. He is also stating that he is convinced that there are alternative ways of dealing with the issue.
His objection is shared by a professor in Paediatrics from Western Sydney University. Professor John Whiteball is convinced that the policy is giving women cricket a death blow. It will tremendously reduce any hardworking female’s ability to achieve greatness. Physically she won’t be able to compete. He has also mentioned the destructive effect which it can have on a teenage girl’s confidence to have to compete with someone physically stronger than her, due to being transgender and identifying as a female, although it is not the person’s born gender. The policy can change the face of women’s sports completely. Even though it was meant to create inclusivity, there are, without a doubt, a large number of people who will most definitely be excluded from sports due to this.