Concerned coaches and parents in the U.K. are raising alarm after a middle-aged transgender woman who transitioned from biological male was allowed to compete in cricket against girls as young as 12.
Multiple letters to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) from parents have expressed concern that the player, whose identity and exact age have not been revealed, possesses an unfair advantage over their girls by having undergone male puberty, according to The Telegraph.
The player, who one coach said “hits the ball harder than any other I have seen in the league,” reportedly has accidentally injured people, including an umpire and another player who was unable to play for months after the incident.
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game that emerged in England during the 16th century and consists of 11 players on a field.
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One parent called the situation “unacceptable, uncomfortable and dangerous,” and another parent of a 12-year-old girl worried that playing against the player in question will push the girls to “give up on cricket because they become so frightened about having to face bowling and fielding of that strength and force.”
“Many girls at this age are only just starting hard-ball cricket, and one incident is enough to turn them off the game,” the parent added.
Another parent expressed “real concerns” about the propriety of a biological male sharing changing spaces with teenage girls.
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Six first-class counties of the game have reportedly met with the ECB to ask it to clarify its transgender policies as soon as possible. Under current rules, “trans women may compete in any female-only competition, league or match and should be accepted in the gender in which they present.”
“Transgender participation is a complex area,” a spokesperson for ECB told The Telegraph. “In recreational cricket, the eligibility of players is based on their own self-identified gender, with no medical requirements. However, in light of guidance from the U.K. Sports Council’s Equality Group (SCEG), we are currently reviewing. We will continue to consult with Sport England and other independent experts and will communicate any changes once this work is complete.”
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Fiona McAnena, director of sport for Fair Play for Women, praised ECB for reviewing its policy regarding transgender players.
“If they want to protect and promote women’s cricket, they must protect the talent pathway. The only way is to make female teams for those born female and no one else,” McAnena told The Telegraph.