During the Aug. 16 opening address of the international LGBTQ+ rugby competition The Bingham Cup, taking place in the Canadian capital of Ottawa through Aug. 21, Ellia Green came out as transand is the first Olympian to come out as a transgender man, according to a press release.
The rugby superstar represented Australia in women's rugby sevens and won gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio as well as silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Green began his transition after he retired in 2020.
"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," said Green, who lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and newborn child.
He added, "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."
Green said his biggest concern is the decision by sport organizations, including World Rugby and FINA, to 'ban' trans women and girls from participating in sport "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."
University of British Columbia's School of Nursing Professor Elizabeth Saewyc, among other things, presented joint research conducted by UBC and Monash University (Australia) that collected data at seven large rugby clubs in Canada and 14 clubs in Australia and the United Kingdom. Eighty-seven percent of heterosexual rugby playing women in Canada supported full inclusion of trans women in their sport vs. case-by-case rules or banning them from sport.
Bingham Cup Ottawa 2022 President Jean-Francois Laberge said, "Ellia's bravery in sharing his story will save lives and it will also shake-up the sporting world. To have a trans Olympic gold-medal winner in rugby is groundbreaking and I think it's going to help challenge and dispel many of the myths about trans people in sport."