“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,” Green said. “For someone to be open and honest about their identity to the public eye is absolutely daunting.”
Green was a member of the Australia rugby sevens team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. He announced his retirement at the end of 2016, and today he has a daughter with his partner Vanessa.
He was featured in the video to discuss transphobia and homophobia in sports, and he spoke about his relationship with his identity.
“One promise that I made to myself (was) that when my rugby career ended, I would continue to live the rest of my life in the identity, in the body, that I should have,” Green said in the video.
Changing laws and opinions have put a spotlight on trans athletes participating in any level of sport. Green said in the video it is “disgraceful” and “hurtful” to have laws regulating trans individuals participating in sports reflecting their gender identity.
World Rugby banned trans women from competing in the elite women’s international rugby union in 2020, while the International Rugby League blocked players who have transitioned to female from international competition. Such regulations can have detrimental repercussions.
Research from the Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health suggests 50% of LGBTQ teenagers ages 13-17 seriously considered suicide in the past year. Eighty-two percent wanted mental health care, but most were unable to find any, according to the survey.
A study on suicide rates in trans youth related to race or ethnicity was done by the same organization. The study found that across all racial and ethnic identities, transr and/or non-binary youth were at highest risk for suicide attempts in 2019. Additionally, sucide attempts were higher among youth of color than white non-Hispanic youth.
“Imagine not being able to do what you love because of how you identify,” Green said in the video. “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.”
After not being selected for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Green felt like a “complete failure” and went into a dark place. He said the positive spark in it all was a top surgery he had planned, and he knew it would make him feel liberated.
Reactions such as prying questions and narrow minded statements make Green wish people would understand the difficulty of the process, but he maintains an uplifting attitude.
“People are going to have something to say, whether that be positive or negative, and I’ve learned that in 10 years of being a professional rugby player,” Green said in the video. “So why not just live the rest of your life exactly as you want to be?”
Despite any worry he may have, Green said he wants his message to resonate with trans youth as a reminder that it can and will get better, especially in a time where it seems like the world is against them.