The transgender athlete hoping to play in the women’s NBL1 competition has spoken out for the first time and revealed she dreams to play for Australia.
Lexi Rodgers she lifted the lid on her application to play for Victorian club Kilsyth and called for kindness from her critics.
Speaking on the Under the Surface podcast hosted by WNBL MVP Anneli Maley, Rodgers explained her decision to speak publicly had been motivated by a desire to raise awareness.
‘It’s good to have a bit of a voice, now, because, when it’s this hypothetical person and people are making a picture of what a transgender athlete looks like in their head, 1: I don’t think it’s me, and, 2: I think it’s a bit harsh and people forget that there’s actually a person,’ she said.
‘If you don’t get it and you don’t know 1: don’t yell stuff on the internet about it because it’s probably wrong, and, 2: Go and learn about it.’
Lexi Rodgers revealed she is the trans player hoping to play in the women’s NBL1 competition
Rodgers called for kindness and understanding from her critics
Andrew Bogut has been a fierce opponent of allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports, claiming doing so would be damaging
Former NBA star Andrew Bogut has vehemently criticised the prospect of the semi-professional women’s league NBL1 South, which incorporates teams from Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, allowing a biological male to play.
He warned the NBL1 would threaten the ‘sanctity of female sport’ if it allowed a biological male to compete.
But Rodgers urged her critics to remember the debate affected ‘actual people’ and called for their understanding.
‘Please be nice,’ she continued.
‘It has been a hard week, so just try to remember that there’s actual people who are affected by these discussions and these debates.’
Rodgers revealed she had first felt feminine tendencies before being a teenager but suppressed the feelings.
However, she said she made the decision to transition during Covid-19, when her mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness and she went through a relationship break-up.
‘It was overwhelming.
‘It was such a quick move from: “Oh, I’m going to be a more feminine guy’ to ‘I’m trans, there’s no doubt about it’,” she said.
Having given up basketball in her youth, Rodgers revealed she now dreamt of playing at the highest level in the WNBL and with the Opals.
‘Coming into women’s basketball has been pretty cool, because, unfortunately, I didn’t know many of you before,’ she told Maley.
‘But now, watching you [Maley] play, and watching people like Cayla [George] play, Mon Conti […] that’s where I want to get to, that’s where I want to be.’
Maley, along with fellow WNBL stars Chloe Bibby, Saraid Taylor and Marena Whittle was incensed at Bogut speaking for them when they support having a female transgender player compete in the league.
Her decision to speak out comes on the same day a Basketball Australia panel met to decide the fate of her application.
While the decision would normally be left to Basketball Victoria, the national body stepped in earlier this month and convened a team of experts to rule on what it described as a ‘complex and challenging issue’.
Under the Surface host and WNBL star Anneli Maley has backed calls for trans players to be allowed to join all-female teams
Fellow WNBL star Chloe Bibby has slammed Bogut’s comments as transphobic
The panel includes Basketball Australia chief medical officer and Commonwealth Games medical advisor Dr. Peter Harcourt, three-time Olympian and Basketball Australia board member Suzy Batkovic and Diana Robinson, associate professor of sports and exercise physician at Notre Dame University.
‘While Basketball Victoria determines the eligibility of athletes who play in their competitions, in the interest of the sport and all athletes, BA’s panel will now assess this application,’ a BA spokesperson said in a statement.
Last week, World Athletics banned transgender women who had undergone male puberty from competing in elite female competitions.
It came after the world’s swimming governing body FINA last year banned transgender women who transitioned after the age of 12 from competing in women’s competitions.