In a feature for TIME Magazine, United States women’s national soccer team player and LGBTQ+ activist Megan Rapinoe accused comedian Dave Chappelle and other public figures of enabling violence against transgender people because of their disapproval over their participation in women’s sports, New York Post reported.
“I don’t want to mince words about it,” the 38-year-old, who came out as gay in 2012, said. “Dave Chappelle making jokes about trans people directly leads to violence, whether it’s verbal or otherwise, against trans people. When Martina [Navratilova] or Sage [Steele] or whoever are talking about this, people aren’t hearing it just in the context of elite sports. They’re saying, ‘The rest of my life, this is how I’m going to treat trans people.’”
In 2021, Chappelle’s Netflix special, The Closer, was heavily criticized over jokes he made about trans women, Face2Face Africa reported at the time. He was also called out for supporting J.K. Rowling – the popular author accused of making transphobic comments in the past. In the wake of the backlash, however, the streaming giant threw its weight behind the comedian, prompting some employees to stage a walkout.
Elsewhere in her TIME Magazine feature, the OL Reign star also registered her displeasure over policies meant to restrict transgender athletes. “It’s particularly frustrating when women’s sports is weaponized,” Rapinoe said.
“Oh, now we care about fairness? Now we care about women’s sports? That’s total bullsh—t. And show me all the trans people who are nefariously taking advantage of being trans in sports. It’s just not happening.”
Rapinoe also said she would be fine with having a transgender woman on the U.S. women’s soccer team, per New York Post. “Absolutely,” she said. “You’re taking a ‘real’ woman’s place,’ that’s the part of the argument that’s still extremely transphobic. I see trans women as real women.”
Rapinoe, an outspoken activist, was among other athletes who followed Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the American national anthem to protest racial injustice. She became the first White and female athlete to take a knee. In 2022, President Joe Biden awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The soccer star will also be joining her teammates on the national team to compete in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. The competition, which will kick off on July 20, will be the fourth and final time the 38-year-old represents her country at the tournament. Rapinoe also announced she’ll be retiring at the end of the National Women’s Soccer League’s 2023 season.