Retired Olympian Ellia Green has come out as a trans man.
The gold medalist recently shared with the world that he has transitioned through the Bingham Cup. The biennial world championships for gay and inclusive rugby posted the video during a “Transphobia and Homophobia in Sport” summit within the tournament.
In Green’s video, the 29-year-old shared that he transitioned because he wanted to live true to himself after retiring.
“One promise that I made to myself (is) that when my rugby career ended, I would continue to live the rest of my life in the identity, in the body that I should have,” he said in the video.
“This is what happened to me,” Green told The AP, according to CBS News. “Pretty much my rugby career ended and I had been in and out of mental health facilities for serious issues. My depression hit a new level of sadness.”
Thankfully, Green is in a much better place now with his partner, Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts, and their infant daughter, Waitui.
“Vanessa was pregnant and having to come to hospital to visit,” Green explained. “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.”
Green also talked about the “daunting” challenge of coming out to the public.
“That’s a really difficult thing to do in this time and day,” he said in the video. “All you have to do is turn on the TV, look on social media platforms, and you can see the amount of bullying, harm and discrimination that goes on about gender identities. It’s extremely harmful.”
Green now joins a small but growing list of transgender and nonbinary Olympians such as skateboarder Alana Smith, weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, and BMX racer Chelsea Wolfe. That said, the past few years have seen a massive sweep of legislations that ban transgender athletes from participating in sports. In response to this, Green noted that there’s more work to be done when it comes to inclusivity in sports.
“Banning transgender people from sport I think is disgraceful, and I think it’s hurtful,” he said.
“I think that the rates of suicide and mental health will get even worse,” Ellia Green worried.
Ellia Green made his international debut for Australia’s sevens team in 2013, playing a winger. He won gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and silver at the 2018 Commonwealth games in Australia. While retired, he hopes to be a point of representation for trans-inclusivity and visibility in sports. We hope his presence can make a difference in somebody’s life.