My experiences as a transsexual woman on women’s cricket teams.

21 June, 2008 (21:18) | Blogroll

Cricket is easily the sport that I am most passionate about. Ever since I started watching the 1992 world cup on TV as a youngster I’ve been hooked. I had been meaning to get back into playing cricket for some time, but it wasn’t until last summer, after a decent amount of experience with living full-time as a female that I got up the confidence to join a women’s team.

I started off playing down in Wellington and spent most of the season playing down there. I had a great time – the team I played for were wonderful and we did a good amount of socialising after the games. I don’t always “pass” as a female – my voice, height, and maybe mannerisms (which I would say probably get more boyish on the cricket field) give me away, however in Wellington I didn’t have any problems whatsoever with any of my teammates or opponents.

In February I moved to Auckland for a job and decided to join a team up here for the remainder of the season. In the second game I played in Auckland I did finally run into a problem. As we were short on players, I got a friend who is also a transsexual woman to fill in for us, and the problem first became apparent when she was questioned about her and my surgical status by one of the oppositions supporters (which I must say she wasn’t very pleased about!). A few days later my club received a complaint from the club that we had been playing on the weekend. The complaint basically said that they didn’t think we should be playing in women’s teams, referred to us with male pronouns (which I found offensive), and in my opinion overstated my physical abilities.

My club, Grafton United, were very supportive, stating from the outset that they did not agree at all with the complaint and got it resolved swiftly with Auckland Cricket. The Auckland Cricket women’s cco-ordinator was also very supportive, respectful, and in my opinion fair-minded about the matter and in the end the complaint was dismissed, and they confirmed that there was no reason why I couldn’t continue playing for my team. I am also very grateful to Jack from the Human Rights Commission for providing me information about how this issue has been dealt with elsewhere. I found this information invaluable in the time where I was worried that the complaint would be upheld. Generally the requirement that you need to have had genital surgery to be able to play on women’s teams (which I think the lady might have been alluding too when she asked my friend’s surgical status) is reserved for elite sports like the Olympics. Generally in social grades the requirement that you are taking female hormones is sufficient, and sometimes not even this is required.

Interestingly I have started playing indoor cricket this winter, and I was surprised they have a policy for transsexual women that we are allowed to play in the women’s grades if we have been taking hormones for two years. While I think the two year requirement is too long and I don’t really like being singled out and having to prove myself by getting a letter from my doctor (I would prefer to just be treated like everyone else and trusted that I am genuine), it has been really reassuring to know that I am protected by this policy.

It will be interesting to see how things go next season. I must admit I am not looking forward to playing the same team that made the complaint again, but I am pleased the outcome overall, and hope that my sharing this will encourage other transgendered people to get out there and brave the very gendered world of sport!

Comments

Comment from Sue Street
Date: August 16, 2008, 1:00 pm

Sorry Jaime, but I have to admit that I’d be reluctant to ever again step on a sports field with transwomen. The one and only butch-bashing I’ve ever copped was at the hands of a ‘mixed’ netball team. I spent about half an hour being barged, elbowed and shoved, until I was laid out by a punch just above my eye that needed seven stitches. None of the rest of my team, straight women, and gay and straight men copped any of this, just me. While womens’ sports often get physical, mostly women don’t have the out and out power to do that.

Comment from Niamh
Date: July 20, 2014, 7:12 am

Yet time and again transgender people have to explain to
a complete stranger the most intimate details of their very being simply to get a position washing
dishes or cleaning toilets; and they tell me there is no cisgender privilege.
The individual can first of all think about shaving. In 2010, Abi had her FFS in Marbella, Spain, which has significantly improved her ability to pass in public and therefore her self-esteem.

Write a comment