Professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe, who plays as a winger and captains OL Reign of the National Women's Soccer League as well as the United States national team, did not mince words as she criticized the "monstrous" anti-trans sports bills that have swept the nation in recent months.
Speaking to Time, Rapinoe said she is “100 percent supportive of trans inclusion” in sports, noting that the nationwide debate about trans inclusion in sports has largely been “put through the extremely tiny lens” of elite athletics.
That is not, she said, the way society should be “framing this question."
“We’re talking about kids. We’re talking about people’s lives. We’re talking about the entire state government coming down on one child in some states, three children in some states.”
“They are committing suicide, because 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."
“Not to mention trying to take away health care. I think it’s monstrous.”
Rapinoe stressed that “sports is not the most important thing in life” because “life is the most important thing in life" and suggested that individuals who are “afraid someone’s going to have an unfair advantage over their kid” should “take a step back and get a grip."
Importantly, she said that society must “start from inclusion” because to start from the opposite end is "cruel" and "just disgusting."
The star athlete's remarks came shortly after Louisiana became the 18th state in the United States to ban trans athletes from competing in school sports.
Both chambers of the Republican-controlled Legislature passed the bill in May and although Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said he would not sign the bill, he noted that he would not veto it. Per Louisiana law, any bill passed by the end of the legislative session becomes law if the governor does not sign.
Rapinoe's words have resonated with many who've praised her for speaking out.
Rapinoe is not incorrect in saying that in some cases, anti-trans legislation has targeted just a few children–or even a lone child–in some states.
In April, after Kentucky Democratic Governor Andy Beshear vetoed a bill that bans transgender girls from participating in school sports, Kentucky Republicans moved swiftly to override it, enacting a bill that would require parents to show birth certificates for their children to participate in these activities.
The bill, Senate Bill 93, affects just one student—a transgender girl in the eighth grade who is now forbidden from playing on the same team as her friends.
Beshear said the legislation "most likely violates the equal protection rights afforded by the United States Constitution," adding it discriminates against transgender children who want to participate in girls’ or women’s sports "without presenting a single instance in Kentucky of a child gaining a competitive edge as a result of sex reassignment."