Megan Rapinoe defended transgender inclusion in women's sports in an interview with TIME.
The US soccer star said anti-trans legislation is "monstrous" and a matter of life or death.
She added: "your kid's high school volleyball team ... isn't more important than any one kid's life."
The US Women's National Team and OL Reign superstar told Time magazine's Sean Gregory that she is "100% supportive of trans inclusion" and that the underlying message of these bills — that trans people are "gross and different and evil and sinful and they can't play sports with their friends that they grew up with" — is "monstrous."
"I think people also need to understand that sports is not the most important thing in life, right? Life is the most important thing in life," Rapinoe told Time. "And so much of this trans inclusion argument has been put through the extremely tiny lens of elite sports. Like that is not the way that we need to be framing this question."
"We're talking about kids," she added. "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."
Rapinoe further explained that the narrative surrounding transgender people's participation in sports is overwhelmingly dictated by "the right's talking points because they're very loud" and "relentless." Because of that, the pink-haired striker — who is both an out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and an avowed Democrat — said most people "do not know very much about the issue."
It's not as though "it's a free-for-all where everyone's just doing whatever," Rapinoe said. Between individual sports' governing bodies, the International Olympic Committee, and the NCAA, there are rules and standards regarding transgender individuals competing in elite-level sports.
But when it comes to those who are "afraid [a trans person is] going to have an unfair advantage over their kid," Rapinoe thinks they need to "get a grip on reality and take a step back."
"I'm sorry, your kid's high school volleyball team just isn't that important," she told Time. "It's not more important than any one kid's life."
Besides, Rapinoe knows that the idea that trans people are dominating sports is largely fallacious. According to Outsports, just 10 out transgender athletes have competed at the NCAA Division I level.
"Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone's scholarships, are dominating in every sport, are winning every title," Rapinoe told Time. "I'm sorry, it's just not happening. So we need to start from inclusion, period. And as things arise, I have confidence that we can figure it out."
"But we can't start at the opposite," she added. "That is cruel. And frankly, it's just disgusting."
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