In an interview with TIME published Sunday, women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe discussed a variety of topics, most notably her support for transgender athletes being able to compete on the sports team that aligns with their gender identity.
Rapinoe started off the interview by talking about Title IX, a law known for its role in guaranteeing inclusion and equal treatment in athletics and preventing sexual harassment on campuses.
The law, which will be turning 50 on June 23, specifically states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
“The impact is immeasurable,” Rapinoe said of the law. “I think not only in this country, but around the world. It was a transformational piece of legislation.”
Asked about the “shortcomings of Title IX” and how to fix them, Rapinoe said: “I think the holes probably mirror the holes in society. I’m sure there’s a racial blind spot. I’m sure there’s an LGBTQ blind spot. I’m sure there’s an immigrant blind spot, all of that. Title IX is also charged with handling sexual assault and rape on college campuses. We know that that is continuing to be rampant and underreported. And even when it is reported, it’s so difficult to get anything done.”
Discussing the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Rapinoe said the situation was “terrifying,” adding: “So we’re potentially on the verge of striking down Roe v. Wade. I mean, I don’t think that this Republican Party will stop at anything … It is really sad that 50 years on from Title IX, and that so far on from Roe v. Wade, we’re bringing up not just settled law, but a settled desire and progression that the majority of the country really wants. This is not the will of the majority of the people, by any means at all.”
Asked what “leadership lessons” she learned during the 2019 World Cup and when then-President Donald Trump was “attacking” her on Twitter, she responded: “I don’t think [Donald] Trump is a serious person. I was one of many women that he went after. But I think it was really important to keep my anxiety or fear or uncertainty that I had around that to myself. And so outwardly, it was kind of a funny joke within the team. Like, bro, the f-cking president is tweeting at you, what on earth? … So that ability to almost like dissociate from the reality that the President United States is trying to dunk on his own citizen and a player that’s trying to win the World Cup and just being able to shoulder a lot of that myself … So I think that ability to kind of make a joke out of it, but also allow the team to be relaxed. It felt like a must win World Cup.”
Asked about her role in advocating for LGBTQ rights, Rapinoe said: “I’m setting the right example, saying the right things, whether it comes to gay marriage or difficult and nuanced topics like trans inclusion in sports,” later adding, “I’m 100% supportive of trans inclusion.”
“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,” Rapinoe said. “And I think people also need to understand that sports is not the most important thing in life, right? … We’re talking about the entire state government coming down on one child in some states, three children in some states. 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.”
She continued, “I would also encourage everyone out there who is afraid someone’s going to have an unfair advantage over their kid to really take a step back and think what are we actually talking about here. We’re talking about people’s lives. I’m sorry, your kid’s high school volleyball team just isn’t that important. It’s not more important than any one kid’s life.”
“Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone’s scholarships, are dominating in every sport, are winning every title. 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. But we can’t start at the opposite. That is cruel. And frankly, it’s just disgusting,” Rapinoe added.
She went on to talk about the upcoming CONCACAF Women’s championship and last year’s Tokyo Olympics, saying, “I think I’m all in on this next World Cup.”
You can read the full interview here.
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DISTRACTIFY.COM
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