Trans athlete applies to join women's NBL1 league

The NBL1 competition is a semi-professional Australian league that has five conferences for both men and women Supplied

Basketball Victoria (BV) has released its guidelines for the inclusion of gender diverse people throughout its competitions, as multiple media reports suggest a transgender woman is set to play in the NBL1 South competition this season.

The Age on Monday reported that the athlete was in the final stages of Basketball Victoria's application process, having submitted for medical and physical testing under the guidelines that were provided to stakeholders earlier in the year.

BV said the 15-page document, which was formally approved last month, had been designed to "support participation opportunities for transgender athletes while balancing fairness and inclusion, particularly for Victorian Senior Representative Leagues such as NBL1 South, Big V and CBL."

"For the 2023 Basketball Victoria competition year (NBL1 South, Big V and CBL), an assessment process has been formulated and overseen by basketball and medical experts," the statement continued.

"Basketball Victoria acknowledge the process requires continued improvement and collaboration, so the case-by-case assessment process will remain a focus, consulting with medical experts and members of the transgender and gender diverse community."

The NBL1 competition is a semi-professional basketball league in Australia that sits below the professional NBL and WNBL leagues, and is made up of North, South, East, West and Central conferences.

According to The Age, the athlete is hoping to play for the Kilsyth Cobras in the NBL1 South competition and had waited for the guidelines on transgender participation to be finalized by Basketball Victoria earlier this year before submitting an application.

"Basketball has long prided itself as 'everyone's game' and this remains the case, particularly at the community level," Sheena Atkin, BV's diversity and inclusion manager, said.

"We recognise there is still much to learn in this space, the new guidelines confirm the inclusion and safety of the LGBITQA+ community into all levels of basketball being an imperative."

Basketball Australia in 2021 released a similar diversity and inclusion policy for athletes at the elite and sub-elite levels of the game in Australia. On Tuesday the governing body released a strong statement of support for inclusivity and Basketball Victoria.

"Basketball Australia (BA) prides itself on being a sport for all, ensuring all participants experience a welcoming, fair and inclusive environment.

"It's been disappointing to see the negative commentary and hurtful language used across social media over the past 24 hours since it was made public that Basketball Victoria had received an application for a transgender athlete to play in the NBL1 South competition.

"We ask for patience and understanding as we support Basketball Victoria in navigating through this complex space with integrity and respect for all involved, and also thank those in the community who have shown sensitivities at this time," the statement concluded..

As well as the NBL1 South, BV's policy also encompasses the Big V and CBL leagues, which all sit below the professional WNBL competition.

With the NBL1 South to tip off on April 1, a decision on the player's eligibility is expected to be issued within the next two weeks.