England cricketer Tammy Beaumont has hit out at criticism made about the eligibility of her Kent teammate, transgender athlete Maxine Blythin.
Blythin, 24, who has identified as a transgender female for five years, was named as Kent’s player of the year in September after helping them to a third place finish in the Vitality Women’s County T20. Her inclusion in the squad has attracted controversy though, despite adhering to the current England and Wales Cricket Board policy on eligibility.
On Wednesday World Cup winner Beaumont defended her teammate, taking aim at her naysayers online, in particular columnist Katie Hopkins, who suggested that Blythin receiving the club award was “another kick in the ovaries for biological females everywhere”.
“Completely disagree,” Beaumont wrote in response. “Cricket is a sport for all and no one should be excluded because of who they are. Using your platform to spread an ill-informed opinion… will only add to the discrimination and abuse she’s [Blythin] already come across!
“ECB have a clear policy on trans sportspeople. If you have an issue with that policy then that is up to you, but don’t take it out on individuals. As far as I’m aware there’s no conclusive proof of any ‘advantages’ of being a trans woman in cricket. Personally I’m proud to call her my teammate and my friend. So please attempt don’t speak for me or my ovaries.”
The rules for eligibility in domestic women’s matches in England currently allow anyone who self-identifies as a woman to play. It is only at international level that all women players need to have testosterone levels lower than 10nmol/L.
However in August the ECB announced that they would be reviewing the policy ahead of the new Hundred competition set to begin in 2020, meaning the rules for international players, which are in line with International Olympic Committee guidelines, could be extended to domestic cricket.
“We are reviewing our policy,” Clare Connor, the managing director of women’s cricket, said in August. “The ECB’s currently isn’t a medically driven policy. It’s a more socially inclusive policy and we will be reviewing that over the coming months.”