By Jordan Ruimy
With her bleached blonde hair and and physically fit body, Megan Rapinoe is best known as a midfielder for the USA national soccer team. The 27 year old is making news these days not for what she is doing on the field, but for what she’s doing off of it.
Rapinoe has come out and said she is a lesbian – an announcement we are seeing more of as a previously homophobic sports world is becoming more inclusive.
“I feel like sports in general are still homophobic, in the sense that not a lot of people are out,” Rapinoe said. “I feel everyone is really craving [for]people to come out. People want – they need – to see that there are people like me playing soccer for the good ol’ U.S. of A.”
A soccer aficionado since her teen years, Rapinoe grew up in Redding, California with her parents and five siblings. The sport was always a fundamental part of the Rapinoe household, with her twin sister Rachel also playing soccer competitively.
She never found a way to publicly confess her sexuality, and never really felt the need to do so, until now. Declaring her sexuality in a recent OUT magazine interview, Rapinoe claims she was never asked about it, and never denied it in the first place. “I think they were trying to be respectful and that it’s my job to say, ‘I’m gay.’ Which I am. For the record: I am gay.”
Former NBA star Charles Barkley once stated “every player has played with gay guys. It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say, ‘Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.’ First of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.”
Rapinoe has participated in numerous tournaments over her short career but none as important as the 2011 women’s FIFA World Cup of soccer, in which her team lost a nail biter to Japan in the finals. She’ll play on the USA soccer team this summer during the London 2012 Olympics.