Can trans athletes compete in women's competitions after gender reassignment or not? This question comes up again and again in different sports. Critics fear they have a biological advantage over the competition. The Australian Basketball Association has made a decision and has banned an athlete from playing.
23-year-old Lexi Rodgers was born a male but recently became a trans woman. In the coming season she would like to play in the second Australian basketball league, the NBL1, for the Kylsith Cobras team and has submitted an application to the Australian Basketball Association. However, this was rejected by a three-person commission of experts. The association did not give specific reasons for the decision and referred to the player's personal rights.
Suzy Batkovic, director of the federation and three-time Olympian, thanked Rodgers for "her cooperation, understanding and patience in this process." "The balance between inclusivity, fairness and the competitive nature of sport will always be difficult to achieve," the association said in its statement. "It remains a complex area that will continue to develop," said Batkovic on the subject.
Lexi Rodgers reiterated on Instagram that the federation's decision "will not be the end of my journey as an athlete." She was "sad about the possible message this decision is sending to trans people and gender diverse people everywhere." "Basketball is one of the great loves of my life. Like so many other players across the country who play every week, I feel safe, free and included on the basketball court. As an athlete, that passion and love for the game motivates me so well to play as possible against the strongest opponents at the highest level," wrote the 23-year-old. She accepts the decision of the national association.
In other sports, too, associations have had to deal with the question of trans athletes - and have made similar decisions. Last year, Fina delegates voted against allowing trans women to compete in women's races. Instead, an open competition should be introduced. The World Athletics Federation also recently decided to exclude transgender female athletes if they have gone through male puberty.
Sources: Basketball Australia / Lexi Rodgers on Instagram