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transition and finding love through cricket – Daisy Cutter

transition and finding love through cricket – Daisy Cutter


The first part of our interview with Danielle McGahey focused on transgender inclusion in cricket and our concerns about the impact of the recent ICC decision on grassroots sports.

This second part is a little more personal: to be honest, it's hardly about cricket. I wanted to tell you about Danielle's story, from realizing she was a trans woman to transitioning and the impact it had on her life. These stories are important to tell and be heard by cis people because while we may never know what it's like to be trans, we can do our best to understand that understanding and apply it to our daily lives.

I also want to tell you how Danielle met her fiancé because honestly it's just a great cricket encounter, cute, and that's just fun content! Not every word about transgender people has to be a battle. So here goes.

How has the transition changed you?

When I moved to Canada, it was probably when I was at my worst mentally. It was kind of like this last ditch effort to find happiness and find something else and try to get that joy back. Switching was literally my cure.

How did you find out you are a trans woman?

I always knew I wasn't a boy. I remember being six years old, crying myself to sleep with my knees up in my shirt and pretending I had breasts, but I didn't realize I was a girl. My father always tried to get me to do really manly things because I was very effeminate, but I had no terminology for what I was feeling. Everyone just assumed I was gay because I was female.

I was always a bit bullied for being effeminate, but when I got to high school the bullying became more and more intense and it was mainly people saying I was gay. My dad got wind of it and basically said, if you're gay, get out of my house. And I said, I'm not gay – I like girls (which is true, I do, but it turns out I'm a gay woman!) At that point I felt I had to choose between what my parents wanted for me and be who I was. was, and family is the most important thing to me, so I chose the former. That's how I lived for the next fourteen years, as a regular straight man, which led me to make a whole series of decisions that I otherwise wouldn't have made.

So when I finally moved to Canada, it was a huge change. I left my parents, I left my wife. I met a lot of new people, and I met a group of trans people at the pub, and then we had a Friendsgiving meal. It was that night that I sat down with one of them and asked, how did you know you were trans? She explained that she always felt this way, and since she was able to express her feelings, she is a lot happier. And for me, that was my egg-cracking moment!

I was on it for a few weeks and then I got out, and the unfortunate result was that I lost my parents. They decided that they didn't want to have a trans child and that they would be better off just, you know, getting the me out of their lives. And I haven't spoken to them since 2021.

Many transgender people can unfortunately lose their families in the process – how did you deal with that?

It was very difficult: growing up, my father was my hero. Mom was great too, but Dad was my hero. So to lose that was horrible, but that's their decision and I can't change it.

All I can do is move on with my life and find my happiness, and I'm very grateful that I was able to do that. Luckily I was able to keep most of my friends; they had gotten to know me because of my personality.

My parents were initially shocked when I came out, and they tried to educate themselves, but Mom made progress and Dad, unfortunately, did not. It got to the point where they imposed rules about what I could wear, etc. when we were on video calls because Dad felt uncomfortable. For a while I thought, as long as you make progress, I'm OK with it, but it got to a point where I couldn't go any further.

When I started the medical transition with hormones and so on, I was going through a lot of mental and emotional changes, and I wanted to be able to talk to my parents. I remember bringing up mood swings in conversation, which I had never experienced before, and as a man you just don't talk about things like that. And my dad rolled his eyes and my mom just let it go and I thought, this isn't healthy for me, I can't do this – I love my parents, but I need their respect, I want them to give me Danielle name and don't give me a wrong gender. It was too much for them, so we broke off contact.

I would have loved to talk to them lately, especially about what I went through last year, but it's their choice. I have a ton of friends and my fiancées' family like me.

The reality is that they don't want to be in a relationship and that's fine. The way I see it is that they are missing out because I am living a happy life, making friends and connections and trying to change the world for the better. It's an optimistic way to look at it, but I have to accept what I can't change.

Tell us about your fiancé! You met playing cricket, right?

Yes, that's her [Dudah Ribeiro] in the Brazilian national team. The first time I met her was actually the first ball of a game and she ran over to bowl to me. So there is definitely some competitiveness – light-hearted, but at the same time she hates to lose!

That's such a nice meeting!

Apparently she saw me at the hotel during that tournament in Brazil and said, she's cute and I had no idea. When I was in Brazil, the first time I just tried to hide. I didn't want to be known, I didn't want to be seen. I was just trying to play cricket and get back to the hotel.

So in the first game, I think her second ball, I hit a six-over square leg, and I noticed she wasn't very happy. But we continued through the week, and on the last day one of her teammates, who speaks English and Portuguese, came over and said, Hey, this girl wants to meet you and change shirts: is this okay? So we exchanged shirts and then the other girls actually came up with a plan – they both told us to meet them behind the building in ten minutes, and little did we know it was just to get the two of us together – really high school romance!

The first thing I said to him was: do you speak English? And she said, no, do you speak Portuguese, and I said no. We ended up hanging out a bit, exchanging numbers, continuing to talk – Google Translate was helpful. About a month later, a little later, we decided to put a label on the relationship. Last July I went to Brazil for a few weeks, and last December we got engaged.

How does learning the language go?

We will do her English homework together and do it again, but for me in Portuguese. But I'm way behind her – every time I'm on page 12, she's on page 120.

I barely speak English, I speak Australian – so yeah, when she says okay, we're using a verb here, I'm like, I don't know what that is.

How has her support helped you?

She's fantastic. She has supported me through everything that has happened this past year. I had surgery last year and she called me every day and messaged me all the time. Her English and my Portuguese weren't very good at that time, but she always called me.

When we played cricket together, she played for Brazil and I played for Canada. I definitely had a huge mental dip, especially in the first game when the cameras were following me. It was so awkward, so uncomfortable. I'm really grateful that she was with me and could support me.

We can't wait for the rom-com.

Ildik Connell does @Daisycutterzine tries to come up with tweets

Danielle McGahey is in Brazil having fun




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