U.S. Women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe has publicly stepped out for the first time to admit to her fans that she is gay, reports USA Today.
The soon to be 27 year-old who leaves for the 2012 London Olympics in less than a month has stepped out in hopes that the publicity following the U.S. Women’s Soccer team will serve as a platform, and that her story will empower those in the LGBT community.
Although living openly gay with her friends and family, Rapinoe was able to officially announce it to her fans in an interview with Out Magazine, and according to USA Today Sports it was all timed out perfectly.
“To be honest I’ve been thinking about it for a while, trying to find a time that works, now leading up to the Olympics, people want to get personal stories,” she says.
“Our team in general is in a position where people look up to us and kids look up to us. I embrace that and I think I have a huge LGBT following. I think it’s pretty cool, the opportunity that I have, especially in sports. There’s really not that many out athletes. It’s important to be out and to live my life that way.”
“It’s about standing up and being counted and saying you’re proud of who you are.”
When asked what her thoughts were on the difficulties that male athletes face when coming out, Rapinoe does admit that the idea is tougher to face, but all it takes is one high-profile athlete to break the barrier.
“The climate is much different for men,” she says.
“That stigma is only going to be broken when people come out and see that there is a positive response. That doesn’t mean there will be no negative response, but if people can have the courage to be one of the first, which is very hard, those barriers can be broken down very quickly.”
Rapinoe goes on to say in the interview how important it is to have the support of your family, saying, “they’ve been really supportive and they love me for exactly who I am.”
What do you think about the timing of Megan Rapinoe’s public announcement of her sexual preference? Do you think the publicity surrounding the soccer team will serve as a platform for the encouragement of the LGBT community?