Trans basketball star Lexi Rodgers banned from competing in women’s league

A picture of Lexi Rodgers.

Trans basketball player Lexi Rodgers has been blocked from playing in the female league by the Australian governing body.

Rodgers petitioned to join the NBL1 South women’s league – a semi-professional set-up that sits below the professional NBL and WNBL – in March 2023, after she came out as trans.

But the Australian governing body, Basketball Australia (BA), deemed her “ineligible” to compete at an elite basketball level following a decision by a panel of experts.

The panel, which assesses eligibility on a “case-by-case” basis, said Rodgers was unable to play for Melbourne team, the Kilsyth Cobras, due to a “range of factors.”

BA admitted that it was still learning about how to implement eligibility, and said this case would help provide feedback for the future.

“I’d like to acknowledge and sincerely thank Lexi for her co-operation, understanding and patience through this process,” BA board member Suzy Batkovic, who was a member of the assessment panel, said in a statement.

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“While Lexi is understandably disappointed with the outcome, I know she’ll continue to support her NBL1 South team throughout the season and be an active member of the basketball community.

In a statement on her Instagram, Rodgers expressed her disappointment but reaffirmed her love of the sport.

“Basketball is one of the great loves of my life,” she said. “Like so many people who play every week across the country, the basketball court is where I feel safe, where I feel free.

“As an athlete, this passion and love for the game motivates me to play to the best of my abilities against the toughest competitors at the highest levels.

“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.

Rodgers went on to thank those who supported her, adding that it was not the end of her efforts to participate and that she hopes basketball will, in the future, become “a place for all”.

Currently, there are no openly trans athletes in NBL1 South. But BA reiterated that it was dedicated to promoting inclusivity at a community level.

“As we continue to develop our own framework for sub-elite and elite competitions, we understand the need to have a clear process and continual education within all layers of the sport,” they said.