Megan Rapinoe dedicates her TIME ‘Woman of the Year’ award to trans community 

Megan Rapinoe arrives at the second annual TIME Women of the Year gala.

Two-time World Cup winner and lesbian icon Megan Rapinoe has dedicated her prestigious Woman of the Year award to the transgender community. 

Rapinoe, who has been outspoken about equal pay in sport alongside LGBTQ+ rights, collected her accolade on Wednesday (8 March) at TIME’s second annual Women of the Year gala in Los Angeles

Addressing the audience at the gala, the football star said: “We all know what’s going on in our country with the attempted erasure of trans people.” She then proceeded to dedicate the award to the transgender community. 

Rapinoe’s dedication comes as state legislators across the US are pushing hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills which, if passed, would roll back nearly all rights for trans people in public life. 

In February, Tennessee became the first state to ban drag performances in public where children might see them, alongside rolling back gender-affirming care for trans youth. 

Rapinoe praised the trans community, saying: “The way they refuse to live their life any other way than completely whole is so inspiring. I’m inspired by the invitation to be completely myself.

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“They offer us a full view of what it means to be a human in the world. A whole opportunity to be the crazy ass human beings that we are. That’s a great gift.”

During her speech, the star acknowledged the pressures women continue to face, but noted that progress has not always been inclusive: “White women have left Black women – and everyone else –behind. Straight women leave queer women behind.”

In this, she urged women to “not be those kinds of people” and added: “Being a woman: make it expansive.

“Don’t ever leave anybody behind. Let’s bring everyone in and figure the rest out from there.”

This year’s other TIME Women of the Year include Cate Blanchett, who is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ukrainian LGBTQ+ rights activist Olena Shevchenko and Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad.

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