Professional soccer player and captain of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) Megan Rapinoe is the first openly gay woman in the pages of Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit edition.
Rapinoe travelled to St. Lucia with the magazine for a photoshoot with her USWNT teammates Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn and Abby Dahlkemper.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Rapinoe said that the magazine is making a bold statement to change its image as “only for heterosexual males.”
Rapinoe hopes that by being in the magazine she can break down stereotypes and start conversation about LGBT+ issues.
She added: “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 and do something totally different I think is really important.”
Megan Rapinoe wants to push boundaries
“I think our view is still way too narrow of gay people in general. 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,” she said.
Rapinoe said the shoot in St. Lucia as valued “diversity and inclusivity” and “the beauty in all women no matter what.”
Rapinoe is not a stranger to pushing boundaries.
In 2018 she and her partner, professional basketball player Sue Bird, posed nude together for the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue and were the first same-sex couple to do so.
The soccer player is an advocate for many LGBT+ organisations including Athlete Ally which works to end homophobia and transphobia in sports.
The 2019 issue also features Muslim model Halima Aden who is the first Sports Illustrated model to pose in a hijab and burkini (full-body swimsuit).
The magazine will be on newsstands from Wednesday and features Tyra Banks on the cover.