'I am only here because of them,' the soccer star said, dedicating her TIME's Women of the Year honor to the trans community.
Trans communities around the world face several challenges daily, such as limited access to healthcare, discrimination and anti-trans laws. Fighting against all the odds stacked up against them entails an enormous amount of strength, inspiration and bravery, which goes unnoticed by most people in society.
Megan Rapinoe, however, is determined to shine a light on the incredible courage of the trans community and all that they have done for the rest of us. The soccer star used her speech at TIME's Women of the Year Gala to express her gratitude towards the trans community and highlight their strengths and contributions to the world. "I am only here because of them," Rapinoe said, while also berating the "attempted genocide" and "erasure" of trans people taking place around the world, reported LGBTQ Nation.
Rapinoe encouraged a different perspective on anti-trans bigotry, stating that rather than solely focusing on the immorality of it, trans allies should approach the issue from a different angle. She said: "Look at what trans people have given us. It's just an opportunity to live a whole life and to be a whole person, whatever that may mean to you. There's so much expansion, just for myself that has happened in the last 3 or 4 or 5 years because of trans people, because of the relationships I have with trans people."
Rapinoe, who has won Olympic gold and two World Cup titles, has been an advocate for women's and LGBTQ+ rights for a long time. She has been a proponent of transgender equality in sports, fought for abortion rights and was a part of the U.S. Women's National Team's victorious struggle for equal pay. In 2020, President Joe Biden presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
She continued, "Just the perspective that I have and what I've been given by them, not just our support to them but the way that they refuse to live their lives any other way than completely whole is so inspiring. I'm so thankful for the invitation to be my entire self." Rapinoe added that trans people "offer us a full view of what it means to be a human in the world." She highlighted the fact that while so many women shrink themselves to be successful, trans people offer inspiration to completely embrace the "whole a** crazy human being" we are.
Rapinoe proclaimed that in that particular celebration of womanhood, we can say "f**k you to those systems and those structures that leave so many behind and that leave so much behind, so much creativity and so much humanity and so much beauty behind. Let's be the people who bring everyone in and bring everything in and figure the rest out from there."
The future of transgender rights in the United States is currently a cause for concern due to the introduction of anti-trans legislation in many states that could potentially limit the care and freedom available to transgender individuals, reported TIME. As of now, approximately 300 bills that are anti-LGBTQ have been proposed at the state level.
In January, Utah passed a law that prohibits gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth, which eliminates their ability to obtain hormone therapy and change their names and gender markers on their birth certificates. In times like these, the support of famous personalities like Rapinoe is crucial.