In an interview with US women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe, the two time Olympic medalist stated that girls and their families shouldn’t be worried about competition from biological male athletes who identify as transgender, and that their sports don’t mean much in the greater scheme of things. Her winning team was once beaten by a team of 15-year-old boys.
The interview with Time, published Sunday, focuses on the anniversary of Title IX, which turns 50 this month, as well as the recent swath of bills passed in states across the country to protect girls' and women's sports from biological males who claim to be women.
Rapinoe said that she’s "100 percent supportive of trans inclusion" in sports.
"People do not know very much about it. We’re missing almost everything. Frankly, I think what a lot of people know is versions of the right’s talking points because they’re very loud. They’re very consistent, and they’re relentless," she added.
One of the truths that is beginning to come to light is the fact that there are many biological advantages men have over women, even if they undergo medical transition, simply due to the condition of the body after male puberty.
One study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that even with prolonged suppression of testosterone, biological males who identify as transgender were still stronger and faster than their biological female counterparts who identify as transgender. Those biological females who take testosterone have been found to be slower and weaker than their biological male counterparts.
Rapinoe continued to tell women and girls that sports are "not the most important thing in life," despite herself being a professional athlete, whose entire life is centered on sports.
"And 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," she said.
"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. We’re talking about people’s lives," she said.
"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, because they are being told that they’re gross and different and evil and sinful and they can’t play sports with their friends that they grew up with. Not to mention trying to take away health care. I think it’s monstrous," she continued.
Rapinoe told parents that want to speak up over the unfairness of biological boys and men playing in women’s sports that they need to "take a step back."
"I would also encourage everyone out there who is afraid someone’s going to have an unfair advantage over their kid to really take a step back and think what are we actually talking about here. We’re talking about people’s lives. I’m sorry, your kid’s high school volleyball team just isn’t that important. It’s not more important than any one kid’s life," she said.
Rapinoe said that instances of "trans women are taking everyone’s scholarships" are "just not happening."
"Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone’s scholarships, are dominating in every sport, are winning every title. I’m sorry, it’s just not happening," said Rapinoe.
While this may not be currently happening on a widespread scale, it could be on the horizon.
A study conducted by UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute found that since its last report in 2017, the number of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 that identify as transgender have doubled, from 0.7 percent to 1.4 percent. While that is only a small portion of the general population, it shows that this number could rise even more in future years.
In the case of former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, skater Lillian Gallagher, or numerous British cyclists, transgender women placing at the top of the podium is becoming a commonplace.
In response to the prominent placings of biological males in women's competitions, and their biological advantages, sports governing bodies like FINA have implemented policies that will protect biological female sports categories from unfairness in the playing field.
"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. That is cruel. And frankly, it’s just disgusting," Rapinoe said.
"So, we need to really kind of take a step back and get a grip on what we’re really talking about here because people’s lives are at risk. Kids’ lives are at risk with the rates of suicide, the rates of depression and negative mental health and drug abuse. We’re putting everything through God forbid a trans person be successful in sports. Get a grip on reality and take a step back," she said.
Rapinoe also spoke highly of Title IX in the interview, while in the same step noting that there are holes in the legislation including a "racial blind spot," an "immigrant blind spot," as well as an "LGBTQ blind spot."