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Megan Rapinoe is the first openly gay woman in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition

Megan Rapinoe is the first openly gay woman in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition

Megan Rapinoe for Sports Illustrated

US women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe on Wednesday (8 May) as the first openly gay woman to appear in the pages of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.

She posed in the 2019 issue alongside three of her United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) teammates: Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn, and Abby Dahlkemper. They did their photoshoot in St. Lucia.

‘I think it’s really quite a bold statement by Sports Illustrated to be honest because it has been seen as sort of this magazine only for heterosexual males,’ the soccer star said.

She hopes her presence in the issue will help start a conversation and changes points of view.

‘I think so often with gay females in sports there’s this particular stereotype about it and there’s such a narrow view of what it means to be gay and be athletic,’ Rapinoe continued. ‘So, to kind of just blow that up and and do something totally different I think is really important.’

Megan Rapinoe for Sports Illustrated
Rapinoe during the shoot | Photo: Video/Sports Illustrated

Breaking down barriers

Since coming out in 2012, Rapinoe has been a vocal champion of LGBTI visibility and equality, both on and off the soccer pitch.

She and her girlfriend, WNBA player Sue Bird, made history last year when they appeared in ESPN’s annual Body Issue. They were the first same-sex couple to ever be featured.

‘I think our view is still way too narrow of gay people in general,’ Rapinoe told Sports Illustrated.

‘Stereotypes still very much persist and they are just such incomplete views of who we really are as people, so I think for that reason it’s really important to just continue to push those boundaries.’

Rapinoe has also shown she has no qualms about using her voice to speak up on a variety of issues.

She’s previously called FIFA ‘old, male and stale’ and followed in NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps by kneeling for the national anthem during a game.

Next month, she and her USWNT teammates will travel to France for the eighth quadrennial Women’s World Cup.

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