Olympic rugby medalist comes out as transgender

Ellia Green was part of the Australian team that won gold at the Rio 2016 Games. Photo: Dave Rowland/Getty Images

Ellia Green has decided to come out as transgender. The Australian rugby player, gold medalist in R7 at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has formalized her status as a trans man.

Green admitted he has suffered from serious mental health issues since retiring in November 2021. “I promised myself that when my rugby career was over I would continue to live the rest of my life with the identity and the body. that I know I should be,” Green said.

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Other transgender or gender diverse Olympic gold medalists include decathlete Caitlyn Jenner and Canadian soccer player Quinn. The first, like William Bruce Jenner, won gold in the Montreal decathlon in 1976. In turn, Quinn, like Rebecca Quinn, won gold with Canada in Tokyo football.

Green’s announcement comes at a time when the International Rugby League has barred athletes who have made the switch from men to women from international competition. World Rugby has also banned transgender women from participating in women’s rugby. “Not being able to do what you love because of how you identify, banning transgender people from playing sports, I find that shameful and painful,” Green said.

He also recalled how bad it was after his withdrawal: “I was ashamed of myself, I felt like I had let a lot of people down, especially my mum. I felt like a complete failure. The only thing that kept me safe was that I had already planned my surgery and my treatment for my transition. I was counting the days with my partner,” he explains.

His partner, pregnant Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts, was visiting Green in the hospital where he was admitted to overcome his depression. After the birth of her daughter Waitui, she was even clearer about taking the plunge and announcing her trans status.

“I want my daughter to see me one day and be like, ‘Wow, my dad had the courage to talk about it, and my dad had the courage to share his story with other people to help them,'” says -she.

Grayson Saunders

"Typical thinker. Unapologetic alcoholaholic. Internet fanatic. Pop culture advocate. Tv junkie."

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