U.S. Olympic soccer player Megan Rapinoe: "For the record: I am gay"
With less than a month to go before the London Olympic Games, U.S soccer star Megan Rapinoe publicly announced on July 2 that she is a lesbian.
The upbeat 26-year-old midfielder for the Seattle Sounders Women and U.S. Olympic soccer player told Out magazine that "for the record" she is gay (she said she never tried to hide that fact but was never directly asked about it) and that she has been dating her girlfriend, an Australian soccer player, for three years.
In an interview with USA Today, she explained that she had been searching for a time to come out and wanted to do so because she has a large queer following. She also noted that in the leadup to the Olympics, people were seeking more personal stories.
She also addressed the dearth of out gay athletes.
“I feel like sports in general are still homophobic, in the sense that not a lot of people are out,” Rapinoe told Out.
She also noted a marked difference between genders when it comes to homophobic attitudes.
“In female sports, if you’re gay, most likely your team knows it pretty quickly,” she told Out. “It’s very open and widely supported. For males, it’s not that way at all. It’s sad.”
She talked in further detail about the challenges that gay male athletes face in her interview with USA Today.
"That stigma is only going to be broken when people come out and see that there is a positive response," she said. "That doesn't mean there will be no negative response, but if people can have the courage to be one of the first, which is very hard, those barriers can be broken down very quickly."