Basketball Australia (BA) has intervened just as Basketball Victoria (BV) was poised to approve allowing a transgender player to join the women’s NBL1 South second tier league.
BA is convening its own panel to determine whether the player can officially be part of the Kilsyth Cobras in the semi-professional competition.
Decisions on who can and can’t play in the competition would normally be left to BV but the national governing body has taken over the process after days of public debate.
“While BV 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 statement said.
“We understand this is a complex and challenging issue and it is our intent to expedite the decision and provide clarity to all athletes and the basketball community. Given the nature of this case, we ask for respectful commentary,” it added.
The Australian Christian Lobby opposes the approval of any transgender player.
Acting Managing Director Wendy Francis told Vision Radio: “it’s not inclusive of women and it’s not fair.”
“Basketball Victoria are claiming they’re committed to fairness, inclusion and safety, but they’re doing exactly the opposite because they’re allowing males to compete in the semi-professional women’s league,” she asserted.
“Women’s opportunities in sport are actually being totally taken away from them and prejudiced against them because men are allowed to play now in these female competitions,” Ms. Francis proclaimed.
“It’s not safe and it’s not fair for males to be allowed to compete against females in this way. And certainly ‘inclusion’ is a ridiculous word to use because we’re certainly not including women anymore,” she concluded.
Former NBA player Andrew Bogut opposes the move to allow a biological male into the women’s competition, asking in a tweet “Are you OK with sacrificing the sanctity of female sport in the name of inclusion?”
He added on other social media: “I’ve got nothing against people who want to transition as adults. I do have an issue however, that you feel that you can infiltrate women’s sport.”
“I put it out because the league and clubs hadn’t been transparent and … members of that club didn’t know and members of other teams didn’t know. I think it needs to be discussed,” he explained.
His comments triggered some heated debate with present and past men’s and women’s players supporting the inclusion of a transgender player who could be available for selection ahead of the Kilsyth Cobras’ season opener against Geelong Supercats on April 1, subject to the outcome of the Basketball Australia process.