Biological male blocked from spot in women’s semi-pro basketball league

Despite being denied by Basketball Australia, transgender athlete Lexi Rodgers says he still has a place in women’s basketball.

Biological male blocked from spot in women’s semi-pro basketball league
Trans basketballer Lexi Rodgers / Instagram
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Basketball Australia has denied Lexi Rodgers' application to join the Kilsyth Cobras in the WNBL1 South basketball league, citing the complexity of balancing inclusivity, fairness and competitiveness in sport.

The decision was reached by a three-person panel consisting of Dr Peter Harcourt, BA’s chief medical officer and Commonwealth Games medical adviser; Suzy Batkovic, a BA board member and three-time Olympian; and Associate Professor Diana Robinson, a sports and exercise physician from Notre Dame University.

While Andrew Gaze, an Australian basketball legend, expressed disappointment for Rodgers, he had faith in Basketball Australia’s assessment process and final decision. The Queer Sporting Alliance promoted the hashtag “#letlexiplay” on social media.

Rodgers said he was sad about the outcome of the decision and the potential impact it could have on the trans and "gender-diverse community". However, he remained motivated to play at the highest levels of the sport.

Basketball Australia emphasised that the eligibility of trans athletes is assessed on a case-by-case basis and that a more structured framework would be developed with the help of key stakeholders from the transgender community, including Rodgers, to better navigate the complexity of the issue.

Michelle McNamara, from Transgender Victoria, highlighted the underrepresentation of transgender and "gender-diverse people" in community sport and the need for "enhanced inclusivity".

Despite the setback, Kilsyth Basketball boss Will van Poppel has confirmed that Rodgers would be welcome to join training sessions with the Cobras for the season.

Rodgers, who came forward as the applicant last month, made an inquiry to join the Kilsyth Cobras women’s team with head coach Hannah Lowe a week before Christmas. He participated in tryouts and submitted to medical and physical testing under the new assessment process introduced for the 2023 season.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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