In a recent interview with Out Magazine, the U.S. women’s soccer midfielder with the short-cropped platinum blond hair said for the first time publicly: “For the record: I am gay.”
Rapinoe had not been hiding her sexuality, she simply said no one had ever asked her directly.
“I feel like sports in general are still homophobic, in the sense that not a lot of people are out,” Rapinoe told Out Sports. “I feel everyone is really craving [for] people to come out. People want -- they need -- to see that there are people like me playing soccer for the good ol’ U.S. of A.”
Rapinoe, who burst onto the scene at the 2011 World Cup in Germany, spoke with USA Today’s Robert Klemko about her decision to come out now.
“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. 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.”
Rapinoe, who turns 27 on Thursday, acknowledged that the culture of sports makes it more difficult for closeted male athletes to come out, but said that when a high-profile active athlete finally does come out, it will pave the way for others.
The Americans open their London campaign with a Grup G match against France on July 25th in Glasgow.