Rugby player who transitioned from female to male brands banning trans players 'disgraceful'

Ellia Green won an Olympic gold medal before transitioning to male

Published

An Olympic gold medal winning rugby player has slammed the sport's decision to ban transgender players, claiming it could lead to added rates of suicide.

Ellia Green was a member of the Australian rugby sevens women's team which won gold in Rio 2016.

After retiring from the sport this year, he became the first Olympian to come out as a trans man, and announced he would not be changing his name.

A number of sporting bodies, including the Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League have taken steps to ban trans players competing in the women's game, amid fierce criticism.

Ella Green with girlfriend Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts and their daughter
Ella Green with girlfriend Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts and their daughter

And Green believes this will increase mental health problems and suicide rates.

He said: "Banning transgender people from sport is disgraceful. It only means the rates of suicide and mental health issues will get even worse."

Speaking about his own struggles after retiring from rugby, Green hopes his story will inspire other trans athletes.

He also told the Sydney Morning Herald: “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.

“I spent a lot of time after I finished up my career with Australian rugby just in the house, in a dark room. I didn’t have the confidence to see anyone.

“I was ashamed of myself, I felt I had let a lot of people down, especially myself and my mom. 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 was counting down the days with my partner.”