US women’s soccer hero Megan Rapinoe has come out strongly in favor of including transgender women in women’s sport, labeling the arguments against ‘cruel and disgusting’.
The veteran soccer star, who co-captained the United States Women’s National Team in 2019 as they won a second successive World Cup, was dismissive of the notion that trans women are dominating women’s sports and thus need regulating.
Instead, she argued that excluding them from competing at lower levels is cruel, as people value their ‘kid’s high school volleyball team’ ahead of the lives and wellbeing of transgender people.
Her comments come in the wake of the furore surrounding professional swimming body FINA’s (International Swimming Federation) new policy that bans transgender women from competing in swimming races.
The decision came in response to transgender UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas’ record-breaking victories at college swim meets, which sparked claims the trans athlete had an extreme advantage as a result of going through male puberty.
‘Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone’s scholarships, are dominating in every sport, are winning every title,’ the Rapinoe said. ‘I’m sorry, it’s just not happening.’
‘I’m 100 per cent supportive of trans inclusion,’ she told TIME. ‘People do not know very much about it. We’re missing almost everything.’
US women’s soccer legend Megan Rapinoe has said she is 100 per cent supportive of trans inclusion, claiming the issue is misunderstood and arguments to exclude trans athletes are ‘cruel and disgusting’
Elite swimming is the first sport to ban transgender athletes from women’s races if they went through male puberty, the international sports federation for swimming announced Sunday. Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer, is pictured
Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges has recently been banned from competing against Laura Kenny in the National Omnium Championships by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body
Jenner, 72, who famously won a gold medal in the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, came out in support of banning transgender swimmers from competing if they transitioned after the age of 12
Rapinoe, who co-captained the United States Women’s National Team in 2019 as they won a second successive World Cup, is a vocal advocate of trans rights
Rapinoe defended transgender women athletes on the grounds that the issue is little understood due to ‘the right’s talking points, because they’re very loud, 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.’
She argued that we must approach the issue from the perspective of how to include transgender female athletes – ‘but we can’t start at the opposite. That is cruel. And frankly, it’s just disgusting.’
The US women’s soccer captain dismissed arguments about fairness as paling in comparison with ‘people’s lives’ because people are ‘committing suicide, 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.
‘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.’
But it is the supposedly unfair physical advantage that some transgender female athletes have over cisgender females that has caused outrage across the United States.
On top of the many international sporting organizations legislating against trans athletes, many US states are in the process of similar legislation. Texas is pushing for new laws relating to trans youths.
‘We’re putting everything through ”God forbid a trans person be successful in sports”, Rapinoe added. ‘Get a grip on reality and take a step back.’
Caitlyn Jenner was one well-known transgender woman who came out against Rapinoe’s position, celebrating FINA’s ban on transgender women competing in women’s races if they have completed their transition after age 12.
The decathlete shared her delight shortly after Sunday’s announcement, writing: ‘It worked! I took a lot of heat – but what’s fair is fair! If you go through male puberty you should not be able to take medals away from females. Period.’
In order to compete, transgender swimmers will have to prove to the federation that they have continuously suppressed their testosterone levels since that age.
Jenner followed up that message by tweeting DailyMail.com’s story on the ban.
Jenner, 72, famously won a gold medal in the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal as Bruce. She also won gold in the same competition at the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City.
Lia Thomas has broken a number of records in women’s swimming for the NCAA since she transitioned to be a woman
She has caused controversy, with experts claiming she has an ‘unfair’ advantage because she went through male puberty, with her fellow competitors refusing to pose with her for a photo
To accommodate the transgender athletes, though, FINA is setting up an ‘open category’ for transgender athletes to compete against one another at events including the World Aquatics Championships, World Swimming Championships, and Swimming World Cup.
British trans cyclist Emily Bridges was also recently blocked from racing against Olympic Legend Laura Kenny in the National Omnium Championships by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body.
A young healthy male’s level of testosterone will range from 20 – 30 nanomoles per liter (the measurement for testosterone), compared to a female’s range of 0.7 to 2.8 – transgender athletes who wish to compete with women must take hormone suppressant medication in order to be eligible.
Such a policy would prevent Thomas from competing in the international events that would raise her standing in international swimming and potentially land her a place at the Olympics – which she said in a recent interview she would like to compete at in the future.
Her quick rise to the top of the women’s charts, though, has caused an uproar across the United States, with many arguing that she has an unfair physical advantage over her fellow competitors.
Megan Rapinoe has been a vocal proponent of a number of social justice issues, including gender equality in sports and fighting for equal pay between men’s and women’s international teams.
She has also been a consistent advocate for trans rights.
In 2019, Rapinoe – along with other female players – sued US Soccer in order to achieve equal pay with the male counterparts.