Transgender athlete, Australian player disfellowshipped from women’s basketball league
Lexi Rodgers of the Kilsyth Cobras is not qualified for the tournament. “To assess a complex situation,” says the Australian association. But there are increasing cases of trans athletes being banned from competitions
After swimming, rugby and athletics, basketball. And so the circle of women’s competitions for transgender athletes continues to close. At least in Australia, where the local federation has excluded the player Lexi Rodgers, who wanted to participate in a semi-pro championship with the Kilsyth Cobras team. But the veto has arrived. In reality a “complex to assess” decision, according to Australian federal leaders, who prefer to assess each individual case from time to time without generalising. However, this is a new sporting dilemma in a society where sexes and genders are no longer unanimously viewed as binary and/or final.
Rodgers’ expulsion was decided after consultation with an expert panel including a federal doctor and a sports doctor: “As the governing body – specifically the Australian Feather Basket – we recognize that we are still on the path of education and understanding. To help us build the bigger picture, Lexi will provide us with insights and advice from her experience.” In short, Basketball Australia is poised to expand the comparison as “the balance between inclusion, fairness and competition in sport is always will be a difficult field”.
So far, the team says, the issue mainly affects transgender people who were born male and became female, as the issue has never been addressed in the reverse cases as they have not been able to enjoy special advantages in male competitions. Chris Mosier qualified for the 2016 Duathlon World Championships, Schuyler Bailar swam for Harvard in the NCAA for four years. Where instead the case of Lia Thomas, varsity champ, turned into an intrigue last year. Soon after, the International Swimming Federation banned transgender athletes from competing, like World Rugby had done the year before. All this after the IOC had ceded the field to each international federation after the Tokyo Games, in which, among others, the New Zealander and transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard qualified first.
Last month, the International Athletics Federation tightened rules for transgender athletes like South African Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya to compete in women’s competitions. The goal is to “protect the women’s category,” World Athletics said. It’s all about testosterone levels, which have to stay below the 2.5 nmol/L threshold for 24 months. Half of the previous level of 5 nmol/L for six months. And the new regulation applies to all disciplines and no longer just to running events up to 400 meters per mile (1609 meters).
In any case, the problem is bound to spread to people who consider themselves non-binary, like Quinn, who not only dropped the name but also won Olympic gold with Canada’s women’s national soccer team in Japan. Or like Jacob Caswell, who won the last New York marathon in two hours and 45 minutes in a certain category. The danger, however, is that the debate will veer into transphobia, as an indictment of theteam Sandra Forgues, Olympic canoe champion in Atlanta 1996, but still owned by Wilfrid. “I hope Basketball Australia will understand that this is not the end of my sporting career and that they will not miss the opportunity to demonstrate their values in the future as I am saddened by the potential message this decision sends to trans people” , commented Rodgers, and with different gender identities from the rest of the world.”
April 18 – 3 p.m
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