As February is LGBTQ+ History Month, it’s important to recognize and celebrate LGBTQ+ trailblazers who have paved the way for others and relentlessly fought for equality. One of these people is definitely Megan Rapinoe.
She is an American football (or soccer as the Americans say) player who has been openly lesbian since 2012, coming out in an interview right before the London Olympics that year. Since then, she has been advocating for LGBTQ+ rights as well as equality in general, recognising the struggles of LGBTQ+ communities: “We see you and we’re with you.”
She has worked with American Family Insurance to help homeless LGBTQ+ youth by providing them with meals and a place to stay. She has visited the people needing that help and described her role by saying: “It is my responsibility to advocate and do what I can for this community.” It is inspiring to see her use her platform to help others and raise awareness of these issues.
I think society needs more people like her who are willing to put themselves out there and be open and vulnerable. She has definitely inspired me to be more compassionate and honest about myself.
Over the last few years, she has gained more visibility due to her support of the Black Lives Matter movement and criticism from then-President Donald Trump. She was one of the first white athletes to kneel in support of Colin Kaepernick in 2016. She received a lot of criticism and backlash for it but regardless, defended Kaepernick and stood her ground.
During the 2019 FIFA world cup she openly criticised Trump and his policies for discriminating against people of color and LGBTQ+ people. She also advocated for equal pay with her teammates and the team even sued their federation for gender discrimination. As a woman who also plays football, it was truly empowering to see her fight for equality in such a relentless way.
A year later in 2020, she announced her engagement to her girlfriend Sue Bird who is a well-known American basketball player, also vocal about LGBTQ+ rights. They have become an awesome power couple in the sports world and they were the first openly gay couple to be featured in the ESPN Body Issue in 2018. And this week they appeared in the GQ magazine cover together. Truly inspiring!
By simply being themselves, they are showing people that it is okay to love whoever they want. As Sue Bird said about the ESPN cover shoot: “Having a gay couple on there hopefully just becomes the norm (…) for us to be on it is the first step in that direction.” Breaking these barriers is vital and I admire them both for doing that.
I think we can all look up to people like Megan and be inspired. Her being so comfortable with herself and just being her authentic self is something we should all aspire to do.
“GO GAYS!” – Megan Rapinoe
Featured Image Credit: latimes.com