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Megan Rapinoe Makes History as First Lesbian in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue 

Megan Rapinoe Makes History as First Lesbian in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue 

Megan Rapinoe

The World Cup winner and Olympian said she wanted to break down stereotypes about gay women in sports. 

Soccer star Megan Rapinoe has made history as the first lesbian to pose for Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, and she did it to make a statement.

U.S. Women's National Team co-captain, World Cup and Olympic gold winner Rapinoe joined teammates Alex Morgan, Abby Dahlkemper, and Crystal Dunn in posing for the annual issue.

"I think it's really quite a bold statement by Sports Illustrated, to be honest, because it has been seen as sort of this magazine only for heterosexual males," Rapinoe said in Sports Illustrated. "I think so often with gay females in sports, there's this particular stereotype about it and there's such a narrow view of what it means to be gay and be athletic. So to kind of just blow that up and do something totally different, I think, is really important."

"I think our view is still way too narrow of gay people in general," Rapinoe added. "Stereotypes still very much persist and they are just such incomplete views of who we really are as people, so I think for that reason it's really important to just continue to push those boundaries."

The soccer star also spoke with Sports Illustrated about letting go of inhibitions while shooting for the issue.

"The more you get into it, the more you lean into it and the more you kind of just let your inhibitions go the better the shots are. It was one of the best photoshoots I've ever been a part of," Rapinoe said. "It's just kind of a chance to show off your body and show off your hard work. Also, there were just some really cool shots. I went with a few sheer [swimsuits]. Free the nipple, I'm all about that!"

Rapinoe spoke publicly about her sexuality for the first time in a 2012 interview with Out.

"People want -- they need -- to see that there are people like me playing soccer for the good ol' U.S. of A," Rapinoe said at the time.

In 2018, Rapinoe and her girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird, posed nude in the ESPN Body Issue.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist