Ellia Green: Olympic Gold Winner Makes Trans History

Debbie says:

I don’t follow Olympic rugby; I barely understand the rules of the game. I’m more interested in women’s rugby than in men’s, just because rugby is such a particularly male-identified sport. I hadn’t heard of Ellia Green until I came across Yerin Kim’s article at PopSugar, “Ellia Green Becomes First Olympic Champion to Come Out as Trans Man.” Of course, this was a first that had to happen; nonetheless, I find it exciting.

Green , who is Australian, was on his country’s 2016 Olympic women’s gold-medal rugby team., and retired from rugby last year. He made his announcement at last week’s Bingham Cup International Summit on tackling transphobia in and homophobia in sport. The Bingham Cup is an international “LGBTQ+ Rugby Tournament,” something else I didn’t know existed.  The cup and accompanying tournament are named for Mark Kendall Bingham, an openly gay rugby player who was one of the passengers who fought back against hijackers on board United flight 93 on September 11, 2001.

Here is Green’s emotionally powerful coming-out video:

I especially like the way he counters his natural concerns about what people (and the media) would say by “Even without changing genders …, people are always going to have something to say.  … So why not live the rest of your life exactly as you want to be?”

In some ways, Green’s story feels very familiar, and his remarks echo many others. At the same time, each “first” matters, each coming-out is courageous, and every person who is out and honest about who they are paves the way for someone else to make the leap.  I can’t help but speculate that the very existence of the Bingham Cup is part of what helped him go public.


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