US football icon Megan Rapinoe has stressed she is “100 per cent supportive” of trans inclusion in women’s sport.
The 36-year-old, who is known for her activism regarding LGBTQ+ issues, has been a consistent advocate for trans rights.
Rapinoe has suggested that those debating the matter are looking at it the wrong way and has labelled those who oppose trans people’s participation in women’s sport as “relentless”.
Her comments come after trans cyclist Emily Bridges revealed she’d received physical threats since UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said trans women should not be allowed to compete in women’s sport.
What has Rapinoe said?
Speaking to TIME magazine, Rapinoe said: “I’m 100 per cent supportive of trans inclusion. People do not know very much about it. We’re missing almost everything.
“Frankly, I think what a lot of people know is versions of the right’s talking points because they’re very loud. They’re very consistent, and they’re relentless.
The USWNT star also emphasised the need for regulation but refuted claims that trans women are dominating in women’s sport.
“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.
“Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone’s scholarships, [and] are dominating in every sport [and] are winning every title. I’m sorry, it’s just not happening.
“So we need to start from inclusion, period. And as things arise, I have confidence that we can figure it out. But we can’t start [doing] the opposite. That is cruel. And frankly, it’s just disgusting.
“So, we need to really kind of take a step back and get a grip on what we’re really talking about here because people’s lives are at risk. Kids’ lives are at risk with the rates of suicide, the rates of depression and negative mental health and drug abuse.
“God forbid a trans person be successful in sports. Get a grip on reality and take a step back.”
Fina bars transgender swimmers
Amid Rapinoe’s comments, swimming’s world governing body Fina has voted to stop transgender athletes from competing in women’s elite races if they have gone through any part of the process of male puberty.
The decision was made at the ongoing World Championships in Budapest.
As a result, transgender American college swimmer Lia Thomas, who has expressed a desire to compete for a place at the Olympics, will not be able to compete in any female category at the next Games.