US soccer star Megan Rapinoe condemns the “monstrous” attacks on trans rights by conservative lawmakers in the US. (Getty/Ira L. Black-Corbis)
Megan Rapinoe has condemned the “monstrous” and “cruel” campaign by conservative lawmakers to attack trans rights in the US.
The queer icon was recently named among Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people of 2022. Rapinoe was commended alongside US Women’s National Soccer Team Becky Sauerbrunn and Alex Morgan for dragging “soccer to the right side of history” thanks to their fight for pay equity in women’s football.
The three-time Olympian told Time that she takes her role as an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights seriously as she was the “only player that was out” for a “long time”. So she said she was the “only spokesperson” to speak on LGBTQ+ rights in the US soccer world whether it was “gay marriage or difficult and nuanced topics like trans inclusion in sports”.
Rapinoe said one of the main “challenges” has been “continuing to stay educated” as she’s not just speaking for herself but “for a lot of people”.
“I don’t want to make anything weird. Nothing goes unsaid,” Rapinoe said. “Speak it plainly.”
She continued: “And I’m gonna speak it loudly, and I think that that helps other people who maybe don’t have the ability to do that, or who aren’t in a place to do that quite yet.”
The Olympic gold medallist added that she is “100 per cent supportive of trans inclusion” in sports. She said there is a lot of anti-trans misinformation being spread across the US as “what a lot people know is versions of the right’s talking points because they’re very loud” and “relentless”.
Earlier this month, Louisiana became the 18th state in the US to enact legislation banning trans athletes from competing in school sports. It joined a host of other states – including Iowa, South Dakota, Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida – to enact such anti-trans measures in recent years.
Megan Rapinoe explained many people don’t understand there is a lot of “regulation” in “collegiate sports” as well as at the “highest level” of the sporting world like the Olympics or professional sports.
“It’s not like it’s a free-for-all where everyone’s just doing whatever,” she added.
The OL Reign player, who has long been an ally to the trans community, added that people need to understand that “sports is not the most important thing in life” because “life is the most important thing in life”.
She described how much of the debate around trans inclusion in sports has been “put through the extremely tiny lens” of elite athletics, which isn’t the way society should be “framing this question”.
“We’re talking about kids. We’re talking about people’s lives,” she said. “We’re talking about the entire state government coming down on one child in some states, three children in some states.”
Rapinoe added: “They are committing suicide, because they are being told that they’re gross and different and evil and sinful and they can’t play sports with their friends that they grew up with.
“Not to mention trying to take away health care. I think it’s monstrous.”
Megan Rapinoe said the sporting world, like society at large, needs to “start from inclusion” because starting at the “opposite” is “cruel” and “just disgusting”.
She also encouraged individuals who are “afraid someone’s going to have an unfair advantage over their kid” should “take a step back and get a grip”.