In a video that premiered on Tuesday, August 16, Rugby player and Olympic gold medallist Ellia Green came out as a Trans man, making him the first Olympian in history to do so. The rugby star was pushed to come out by the increasing number of bans that prevent Transgender athletes from competing in sports.
Ellia Green was part of Australia’s Rugby Sevens team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics. He played rugby professionally for ten years and is now retired and living with his wife and young daughter in Sydney.
The Olympian came out as a Trans man in a video that was broadcasted during the Bingham Cup International Summit tackling transphobia and homophobia in sport. The event aimed at developing strategies to promote the inclusion of LGBTQ+ athletes in the sports industry and presented important research conducted on the subject.
During his speech in the video, Green discussed the recent decisions of some international bodies to ban Trans athletes from competing in the female category in sports such as swimming and rugby itself. He said, “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. I think that the alarmingly high rates of suicide and the mental health challenges which trans and gender diverse youth experience will get even worse.”
“I just knew I was going to be the most liberating feeling when I had that surgery and started to take the steps towards being in the body that I know I am meant to be in.” he shared.
He then continued, saying: “Being open about my gender identity is a really difficult thing to do these days. 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, so for someone to be open and honest about their identity to the public eye is absolutely daunting.”
One of the presenters at the summit, Professor Elizabeth Saewyc, from the University of British Columbia’s School of Nursing, also spoke up against the bans: “We are very concerned about the health of Trans and gender diverse young people and need to do everything possible to support them, not ban them from playing sports.”
“Trans young people have poorer health than their peers across nearly every health indicator. A main contributor is the harmful discrimination and stigma they experience at school, when playing sports, and in the general community.” Saewyc added.
The President of Bingham Cup Ottawa 2022, Jean-François Laberge, commented on Green’s choice to come out saying that it will “shake up the sporting world”. He also added, “The research which was presented confirms what I had been hearing from women, that they are opposed to people being banned from playing their sport and there is no evidence that trans women are a safety risk to others.”
The research in question was presented by Prof. Saewyc and conducted jointly by UBC and Monash University (Australia).
They collected data from 7 rugby clubs in Canada, and 14 clubs in Australia and the UK to examine the attitudes of rugby players in regards to the participation of Trans athletes in sports, with the following results:
- 87% of women playing rugby in Canada support full inclusion of Trans women in their sport;
- 80% of them also disagreed with the statement “I would feel ‘unsafe’ playing with a Transgender woman”;
- 57% of all players reported having heard sexist slurs at their clubs, 22% homophobic slurs and 16% transphobic language.
Find the full video in which Olympian Ellia Green came out as a Trans man below.
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