Megan Rapinoe defends transgender athletes in women’s sports, slams critics

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Megan Rapinoe continues to be an advocate for the LGBT+ community and recently spoke candidly about transgender inclusion in sports, noting how “disgusting” the arguments made against the topic have been.

The 36-year-old soccer player discussed transgender inclusion during a recent interview with Time magazine, in the midst of many US states continuing to enforce anti-trans laws in sports. Rapinoe had been included as one of the 100 most influential people of 2022.

Although she said that she is “100 per cent supportive of trans inclusion” in sports, Rapinoe shared that she still thinks that people are “missing almost everything” that there is to learn about it.

“People do not know very much about it,” she explained. “We’re missing almost everything. Frankly, I think what a lot of people know is versions of the right’s talking points because they’re very loud. They’re very consistent, and they’re relentless. At the highest level, there is regulation. In collegiate sports, there is regulation. And at the Olympic and professional level. It’s not like it’s a free-for-all where everyone’s just doing whatever.”

However, Rapinoe acknowledged how the argument against trans inclusion has been applied through the “extremely tiny lens of elite sports”, which is not the right way to be “framing this question”.

With that in mind, she went on to note how children may not be given the opportunity to join their school’s sports team or play with “their friends that they grew up with” due to anti-trans laws.

“We’re talking about the entire state government coming down on one child in some states, three children in some states,” she said. “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.”

The soccer star also addressed a message towards people who are afraid that someone who’s transgender could get an “unfair advantage” on a sports team, over someone who isn’t trans. Before expression how “disgusting” she thinks that argument is, she noted how transgender women were not stealing any atheltic opportunities from women who are cis-gender.

“Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone’s scholarships, are dominating in every sport, are winning every title,” she said. “I’m sorry, it’s just not happening. So we need to start from inclusion, period.

“And as things arise, I have confidence that we can figure it out,” she added. “But we can’t start at the opposite. That is cruel. And frankly, it’s just disgusting.”

Rapinoe also encouraged people to “take a step back” and think about how arguments against trans-inclusion can put a child’s mental health and well-being on the line.

“Kids’ lives are at risk with the rates of suicide, the rates of depression and negative mental health and drug abuse,” she said. “We’re putting everything through God forbid a trans person be successful in sports. Get a grip on reality and take a step back.”

Rapinoe’s comments came after the Fédération Internationale de Natation’s (FINA) new policy banned transgender women who have reached male puberty from competing in its professional swimming races.

The decision came after critics slammed openly transgender athlete Lia Thomas for having an unfair advantage, following her win at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) first division swimming championship competition.

According to Freedom for All Americans, a campaign that aims to reinforce non discriminatory protection for LGBTQ + people in the US, trans athelete bans are being considered for nearly 20 states. Earlier this month, Louisiana banned transgender women form participating in women’s sports teams.



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