In a month full of harrowing news—Alaska’s new record-high temperature of 90 degrees F on July 4, sexual predators like Jeffrey Epstein, just to name a few—there is one thing that is giving all of us life, and it is Megan Rapinoe. If you haven’t heard of her before, that’s okay: I didn’t know her before the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team’s brilliant win over the Netherlands, either. In just a few weeks, Rapinoe has gone from a relatively obscure American soccer player to the Internet Girlfriend we don’t deserve, international soccer superstar, and queer icon.
Even before the team’s historic 4th consecutive World Cup victory, Rapinoe was already making waves, especially by telling a reporter “I’m not going to the fucking White House,” making everyone watching instantly go like this 😍.
— Eight by Eight (@8by8mag) June 25, 2019
This, of course, led Donald Trump to lash out, because being the President of the United States doesn’t make you busy enough to let an online shade go unpunished! Clearly, priorities.
“I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job! We haven’t yet invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose. Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!” Said Donald Trump.
But not only did Rapinoe win the World Cup, she also won the Golden Boot (most goals) and the Golden Ball (best player); and she took a stand against police brutality and racial profiling by not putting her hand on her chest or singing along during the National Anthem. Setting her apart from her teammates, Rapinoe hasn’t been participating in the National Anthem since 2016, when she kneeled to show solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and other activist-athletes. At that time, she was censured by U.S. Soccer, but she stated that abstaining from the Anthem is her First Amendment right.
In an essay written for the Players’ Tribune, Rapinoe wrote: “I haven’t experienced over-policing, racial profiling, police brutality or the sight of a family member’s body lying dead in the street. But I cannot stand idly by while there are people in this country who have had to deal with that kind of heartache. I can understand if you think that I’m disrespecting the flag by kneeling, but it is because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen to demonstrate in this way.”
And that is the crux of the issue. Some people argue that being an American precludes criticizing its government, but love of one’s country doesn’t mean blind devotion. Patria does not equal an administration, or a president, or even the White House. That is just the kind of dangerous thinking that leads to dictatorships, by conflating a regime or a political party with a country. And when leaders or policies oppress the people, it is our right and responsibility to resist.
So there’s the Fearless Advocate Megan, and then there is the side of her that just oozes swagger and unchecked sex appeal. I’d be gay for Megan, for sure. In fact, she looks like the boyfriend I should be dating—except vastly cooler, hardcore-er, and sexier. And she’s turning the entire internet so thirty, so very very thirsty.
I, too, want to be swept up in a one-armed embrace by Megan.
Look at those arm tattoos peeking out. Total stud.
As one of the most outspoken and successful openly gay athletes in her sport, Rapinoe’s mega-popularity among people of all orientations is signaling a change toward inclusion and diversity. By speaking up for LGBTQ rights, civil rights, and equal pay, she is a self-proclaimed “walking protest” against President Trump, and she does all that resisting in style. All hail.
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Photo: Megan Rapinoe