They “promotes inclusivity”
Basketball Australia have denied a transgender basketball player named Lexi Rodgers from playing in the country’s women’s semi-professional basketball league.
Rodgers requested to play for the Kilsyth Cobras but following a discussion with an expert panel, Lexi was told that she couldn’t be a part of the team.
The Basketball Australia board was led by Chief Medical Officer, Dr Peter Harcourt and he was joined by three-time Olympian Suzy Batkovic and Associate Professor, Diana Robinson.
According to The Guardian, the BA released a statement saying that they assess possible professional transgender players on a “case-by-case basis”.
They said they consider a range of factors when making their decision.
The board said: “We’re still on a path of education and understanding.
“The balance of inclusivity, fairness and the competitive nature of sport will always be a complex area to navigate, and we thank those involved who have maintained integrity and respect throughout the process.”
Suzy Batkovic said she understood Lexi’s disappointment following the outcome of their meeting but thanked her for her patience and her professionalism.
She also explained that although Lexi was turned down in her application to play with the Kilsyth Cobras, she said the BA “promotes inclusivity”.
“This is not the end of my journey”
The governing body for basketball insist they are still learning and developing in their inclusivity and fairness practices. They admit that situations like these are always complex and difficult to navigate.
In a heartfelt Instagram post, Lexi wrote: “Basketball is one of the great loves of my life. Like so many people who play every week across the country, the basketball court is where I feel safe, where I feel free, and where I feel I belong.
“I have been humbled by the number of people who have publicly spoken in favour of including me as a player in the NBL1. Such support fills me with pride, but also sends an honest message of equality to those who are also seeking belonging within sport.
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“I sought a different outcome from Basketball Australia. I participated fully and in good faith with the process and eligibility criteria.
“Consistent with the views expressed by so many, I firmly believe I have a place as an athlete in women’s basketball.
“I hope Basketball Australia understands that this is not the end of my journey as an athlete.
“I’m sad about the potential message this decision sends to trans and gender diverse people everywhere.
“I hope that one day basketball’s governing body can replicate the inclusion and acceptance I have found on the court with my teammates.
“Hopefully one day be playing elite women’s basketball in the future and will continue to work on making the sport I love a place for all.”
“Sport is for everyone!”
The BA’s decision has sparked widespread debate.
Transgender advocates have been vocal about their rights and have been expressing disappointment all over social media.
One person commented on Lexi’s post: “Sport is for everyone! Sorry to hear Basketball Australia doesn’t feel the same way.”
However, others are putting forward some scientific points that cannot be ignored.
This situation is not unique to Australia. Transgender athletes should be treated fairly but the overall integrity of the sport must be the priority.
All sporting organisations around the globe have plenty more to learn but it’s about maintaining a balance between inclusion and fairness.
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