Finding Happiness

Australian Olympic Rugby Player Ellia Green Comes Out As Trans And Finds Happiness Along the Way

We love seeing folks happy and living their truth. Ellia Green (he/him) is doing just that. The Australian rugby player, who has decided to keep the same name, came out as trans in a recorded video that premiered at the Bingham Cup Summit, an international summit on addressing homophobia and transphobia in sports. 

Green competed in the 2016 Olympics, ultimately winning a gold medal with Australia’s rugby team. Ultimately, Green became one of three trans/gender-expansive gold medal-winning Olympians, with the other two being Canadian soccer player Quinn and American decathlete Caitlyn Jenner. 

However, Green retired from rugby in 2021, after not being selected for the Tokyo Olympics, and soon went into a dark place with his mental health. 

“This is what happened to me,” Green stated in an interview with The Associated Press. “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”.

Green was battling depression, but found strength and support in family, especially from his partner Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts, and hopes to share his story in an effort to support other people navigating complex mental health challenges. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Ellia Tiriseyani Green (@elliagreen)

“One promise I made to myself, that when my rugby career ended, that I would continue to live the rest of my life in the identity, in the body that I should have and that’s a really difficult thing to do in this time and day”.

According to the Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, “45% of LGBTQ youth considered attempting suicide and nearly 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth attempted suicide”.

Many queer and trans youth navigate mental health challenges, while not having an identity-affirming home and not having access to proper mental health support. Green was navigating his feelings around gender as a child, and those feelings ultimately came to head when they paired with his feelings stemming from retiring from rugby. 

“I spent a lot of time after I finished up my career with Australian rugby just in the house, in a dark room,” Green says in his Bingham Cup Summit video. “I felt like a complete failure, it was heartbreaking…The one thing that did keep me positive is that I had already planned my surgery and treatment towards my transition. It was something I had literally been counting down the days with my beautiful partner”.

Now, Green is putting his focus on himself and his family, giving way to happiness that’s sure to last, while also advocating for other trans and gender-expansive folks around the world. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Ellia Tiriseyani Green (@elliagreen)

“Why not live just live the rest of your life exactly as you want to be because life is just too short to live it as something else”.

Watch Green’s full video below. 

 

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