Megan Rapinoe hits out at Martina Navratilova and Dave Chapelle over anti-trans rhetoric

US football and lesbian icon Megan Rapinoe has once again called out transphobia and efforts to exclude trans athletes from sports.

In a profile in Time magazine, the two-time Women’s World Cup winner explained how she found it “frustrating when women’s sport is weaponised”.

The star said: “Now we care about women’s sports? That’s total bulls**t. Show me all the trans people who are nefariously taking advantage of being trans in sports. It’s just not happening.”

The efforts to ban trans women from competing in women’s sport is one of the most high-profile aspects of anti-trans rhetoric on the rise around the world.

Rapinoe, who will retire from football later this year, said the US was “trying to legislate away people’s full humanity” and she believes that the harm caused by people questioning transgender participation goes far beyond the playing field.

Dave Chappelle making jokes about trans people leads to violence, whether it’s verbal or otherwise, against trans people,” she claimed.

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“When Martina [Navratilova, a lesbian former tennis star and now a pundit] or Sage [Steele, an ESPN anchor] are talking about this, people aren’t hearing it just in the context of elite sports. They’re saying, ‘The rest of my life, this is how I’m going to treat trans people’.”

Megan Rapinoe wears a blue OL Reign jersey with the words "Black Future Coop Fund" written in white across her torso as she runs down the field
OL Reign’s Megan Rapinoe says she’s “100 per cent supportive of trans inclusion” in sports. (Getty/Steph Chambers)

Rapinoe said she would “absolutely” embrace having a transgender woman in the US women’s football team, even if it meant they were playing in the place of someone assigned female at birth.

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“‘You’re taking a ‘real’ woman’s place’, that’s the part of the argument that’s extremely transphobic,” said the 2019 player of the year, who is likely to win her 200th international cap during the upcoming Women’s World Cup.

“I see trans women as real women. What you’re saying automatically in the argument – you’re sort of telling on yourself already – is you don’t believe these people are women. I don’t feel that way.”

Using her platform to speak in support of trans rights is not new for the Olympic gold medallist. Earlier this year, when she was recognised at Time’s Women of the Year gala, she dedicated the award to the trans community and acknowledged women still face various pressures.

Similar support was discussed in a profile with the magazine last year, and Rapinoe has also taken other opportunities to advocate for the trans community in recent years.

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