Megan Rapinoe Is Officially Gay, Everyone May Celebrate Accordingly

via Out Magazine

Megan Rapinoe, an absurdly talented and hard-working player on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and Autostraddle Hot 100 Number 11 has always been private about her sexuality. A couple of months ago, Rapinoe said some things in an interview and more or less outed herself, but she never made a clear-cut, official statement about it. With so few openly gay athletes competing on the professional level, it seemed unlikely that Pinoe would (or had to) specifically talk about her perceived lesbianism.

The lesson here is that you should never underestimate Megan Rapinoe.

In an interview with Out Magazine, Rapinoe officially became the first soccer player on the current U.S. Women’s National Team to publicly come out as a lesbian, and there was great rejoicing throughout the land. In the interview, Rapinoe leaves no room for ambiguity:

Rapinoe has decided to pull off another landmark in women’s soccer: to come out and publicly discuss her sexuality.

“I feel like sports in general are still homophobic, in the sense that not a lot of people are out,” she says. “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.”

Not that Rapinoe has been hiding anything; it’s just that no one ever asked her directly. “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,” she says. In fact, Rapinoe’s been dating her girlfriend, an Australian soccer player, for three years, and even brought her home to visit her family in Northern California last Christmas.

She doesn’t get to see her girlfriend that often, however, since the life of a world-class soccer player is mainly spent traveling, which means that her teammates are akin to her closest family. Luckily, Rapinoe feels women’s teams are generally more accepting. “In female sports, if you’re gay, most likely your team knows it pretty quickly,” she says. “It’s very open and widely supported. For males, it’s not that way at all. It’s sad.”

So. There you have it. You have to respect someone who’s willing to come out in the middle of some serious preparation for the Olympics. Still, the public image of the U.S. women’s team has become considerably more queer since the old-school glory days of 1999, and it’s possible or even likely that Rapinoe’s coming out party will be the first of many for the team.

In short: Four for you, Megan Rapinoe. You go, Megan Rapinoe.

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Grace Ellis has been writing and making hack-job graphics for Autostraddle since 2011 and is a co-creator and co-writer of the comic book series Lumberjanes. She is mostly an intern in name only. (Mostly.) She lives in Columbus, Ohio because why anything. Also, she wants to write the Black Widow movie and feels like if she just keeps telling people, eventually she will be allowed to do it. She has a Twitter and a Tumblr, both of which are pretty above average.

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60 Comments

  1. Thumb up 22

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    Is there now a “Rule of 3″ for celebrity outings? Who’s the third?

    (Also, it should be noted that both Megan Rapinoe and Anderson Cooper “came out” on my birthday. Pinoe, Coop…y’all are great. Queers…you’re welcome.)

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    Happy Monday. Also I really like the tags on this post. Also Also, Props for coming out right before the olympics. I wasn’t even hoping anything of the sort until after, at the very earliest. 4 for you megan rapinoe, indeed.

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    I love that she wanted to leave no doubts hanging around, and also the insight that yeah, it’s probably easier for women to come out to their teammates than men in most situations. I wonder if Abby will come out after the Olympics or at all. It’s not like she particularly hides anything. But she’s arguably much more visible to the general public than Pinoe and maybe in her mind that’s a step she doesn’t want to take.

    I got into an argument with someone who thought that female athletes should stay in the closet to avoid “tainting” a culture that already paints athletic women as lesbians and often tries to separate out their athletic and “feminine” identity. (See: every article ever about an athlete who can ~play hard~ but is still totally a ~girly girl~ as if to reassure us that sports don’t turn you into a man.) Their point was that women’s sports have to fight hard as it is for visibility and legitimacy, and the perception that sports is just for lesbians damages everyone. I was like I get your point, but trying to cut out gay athletes from the picture so that the public can be comfortable with their vanilla image of the girl next door who plays sports is stupid and also fuck you.

    P.S. The only part of that article that needs to go is the part about having balls.

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      I mentioned this in another post. It confuses me when I see Division 1 softball players all ‘dolled up’ with make up and ribbons in their long braids. Sure, if it’s their choice, then more power to them, but from what I’ve heard is that the coaches and schools ‘strongly urge’ them to look that way when the game is televised. I don’t know how this sport became so homophobic when it was our ‘calling card’ years ago. Remember being called a ‘softball dyke’ in high school? Yeah, I do, but I carried my swagger proudly. I love how the US Women’s Soccer team supports and cares for each other. We can point out the ‘obvious ones’, but they are a great mix and don’t look like their publicist forces anything on them. On that note, I will cringe if the Ralph Lauren Opening Ceremonies outfits are like the Closing Day ones…I can’t see Abby Wambach in a long, flowing dress. I just can’t.

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    I am so excited because while I feel like, yeah, in some ways sports have had more space for gay female athletes, at the same time especially at higher levels with a higher public profile to have an athlete of any gender come out and just publicly say “I’m gay.” doesn’t happen a whole lot. When an athlete does (as in the case of retired Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas, for example), it’s also often after they have passed the peak of their playing career. So props to her.

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    With like half the current Swedish WNT being more or less officially queerish, and also THIS aaahhsdlfjnlakejfhkjbPINOE, I’m like…wow, even if – in an alternate universe – I didn’t CARE care about football so very much, I’d probably still be won over at this point. Makes the entire sport SO MUCH BETTER when you know that it has all these awesome out ladies in it being crazy talented & cool & hot.

    (And JESUS CHRIST does one need gay & happy football-thoughts now, having cried over Germany losing to Italy for nearly a week now…or is that only me, yesss okay. So. Well.)

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    Isn’t she the only openly gay player on either of the U.S. national soccer teams? IIRC the only openly gay guy in men’s soccer is Swedish.

    Also, there was an interesting gay-related controversy during the men’s world cup that just concluded – apparently, some Italian journalist said there were two closeted gay men and one closeted bisexual man on the Italian national team (he had dated one and he told them about the other). So big Italian star and apparently, professional douchebag Antonio Cassano decided to make some asinine remarks about how he “hopes” there are no gay players in the locker rooms, or something.

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      Antonio Cassano has been a professional douchebag always, he was once naked on the field because Italy won a game. Even people say “cassanata” when you do something stupid, or have bad temper or not a single drop of team spirit.

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    PINOE!!!!! Inspires me to stand up and scream at work that I’m also gay… I smiled for the entire day after reading she came out. I can’t wait for the Olympics! I wish someone would ask that Aussie Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice what she thinks about Pinoe dating Walshy. I like how Rice said “Suck on that Faggots!” like it was nothing and shamed her sport and country. I wish more athletes would come out and show the world that we don’t need the ‘Gay Games’ since we already play in them every 4 years. It’s called the Olympic Games.

  8. Pingback: Femme Football Fandom | Cuntext

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