Out soccer star Megan Rapinoe dedicated her speech at the Time Women of the Year Gala to thanking the trans community.
“I am only here because of them,” Rapinoe declared, blasting the “attempted genocide” and “erasure” of trans people currently taking place in state legislatures across the country.
Rapinoe explained that while trans allies often blast anti-trans bigotry because it’s immoral, she urged people to “look at it a little bit different.”
“Look at what trans people have given us,” she said. “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…and 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 said trans people “offer us a full view of what it means to be a human in the world” and that as so many women are asked to shrink themselves to be successful, trans people have taught us to boldly embrace the “whole ass crazy human being” we all are.
“That’s a great gift,” she said.
This room, she concluded, is where 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.”
Rapinoe, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champion, has long been an activist for women and LGBTQ+ people. She has fought for trans equality in sports and abortion rights, and she was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s historic (and successful) battle for equal pay.
Last year, President Joe Biden awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.