This Is Why Cricket Australia Just Launched A Transgender Policy
“It doesn’t make any sense that today, people are discriminated against, harassed or excluded, because of who they are."
That's the official word from Cricket Australia Kevin Roberts, who today launched Cricket Australia's new Inclusion Policy to help create pathways for transgender and gender diverse people to play elite and community cricket.
The thinking behind today's announcement?
It's people like Erica James (pictured below), who was born a boy and played cricket as a young lad but felt from a very young that she has been a girl. Tired of playing in boys teams, she was lost to the sport of cricket for 27 years.
As she puts it, she spent her spare time "playing video games and hiding away from the world".
After transitioning, James eventually decided to try cricket again. That's when she met women's cricket legend Alex Blackwell, who played 251 games for Australia in all formats of the game, and who is a leading advocate for LGBTI rights.
One thing led to another and she is now a cricketer again, with the Universities Women's Cricket Club.
"The moment that I realised that I could play in a team of women like me I was so surprised and so happy. I'm getting exercise now, I'm getting out there and meeting people, and I'm making amazing friends," James said today at the launch of the policy.
Current Australian cricketer and World's best T20 bowler Megan Schutt echoed the inclusivity message.
"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 includes transgender and gender diverse players will create a better environment for everybody to play the game.
Under the new guidelines, players will have to demonstrate that their gender identity is "consistent with their gender identity in other aspects of everyday life".
Clubs should also endeavour to provide safe spaces for transgender people, as well as gender-neutral spaces within change rooms, where possible.