A HUGE and important step for trans representation in sport: Olympic gold medallist Ellia Green becomes the first Olympian to come out as a trans man.
Green’s bravery and honesty will undoubtedly help make rugby a safer space for trans people around the world.
“As a kid I remember I thought I was a boy in public,” Green told AP. “I had a short [hairstyle] and whenever we met new people they thought I was a boy. I always used to wear my brother’s clothes, played with tools, and ran around with no shirt on. Until I grew breasts, and I thought ‘oh no.’”
Aussie rugby sevens star and Olympic gold medallist Ellia Green shared a courageous and heartfelt video, calling the commitment to transition ‘the best decision’ of his life.
Green – formerly one of the stars of Australia’s gold medal-winning women’s rugby sevens team at the 2016 Olympics – came out to the world in a pre-recoded video played during an opening address at the Bingham Cup’s international summit (August 16).
“I promised myself that when my rugby career ended, I would continue to live the rest of my life in the identity and the body that I that I know I am meant to be in,” Green said in the video (below) shown during the summit on ending transphobia and homophobia in sport on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old champion admitted to having been in a “dark place” after retiring from rugby at the end of 2021, with the rapid upturn in anti-trans rhetoric online compelling him to speak out.
“I’d like to help someone not feel so isolated by telling my story,” he said.
“Banning transgender people from sport is disgraceful and hurtful. It only means the rates of suicide and mental health issues will get even worse,” Green said.
“To those listening or to those who might have a story, even the slightest bit similar to mine, I would just love to tell you that it does get better, and it has taken me so much courage to even take the steps to sit here at now and talk about it.”
He’s in a much better place now, sharing life with with his partner, Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts, and their daughter, Waitui.
“Vanessa was pregnant and having to come to the hospital to visit,” Green said. “I was having bad episodes. That’s the last time I want her to have to see me like that. But the only way to help heal is to talk about it . . . I’d like to help someone not feel so isolated by telling my story.”
Speaking to Reuters, the champion shared that he had gender affirming surgery last November:
“After finishing up my rugby career, that was something I was really excited about because I had been planning it for a while,” he said.
“I knew I couldn’t do hormone therapy or surgery during my career … it’s all happened so quickly.”
“Imagine not being able to do what you love because of how you identify, banning transgender people from sport, I think is disgraceful, and I think it’s hurtful,” Green said referring to the numerous institutionalized (and, frankly, political) attacks on trans inclusion in sport.
Both World Rugby and International Rugby League have banned trans women from competing women’s matches, alongside organizations like Swimming Federation (FINA), World Athletics and FIFA.
Ellia’s video is below. Take a look at all the celebrities and public figures who have come out in 2022 (so far…), by clicking here.