Rapinoe: 100% Supportive Of Trans-Exclusionary Inclusion In Women’s Sports

With different sporting organizations taking center stage for trans-exclusionary policies this week, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT’s) Megan Rapinoe made a strong statement in support of trans athletes.

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This week, FINA (swimming’s governing body) banned trans swimmers from women’s events, except those who have transitioned before the age of 12.
They are also considering a new event category for trans swimmers.

Subsequently, participation by trans athletes was banned by the International Rugby League, including in the Rugby World Cup in October.

While the global discourse has focused on fairness in elite competition, Rapinoe provided a necessary sense of perspective on what we’re talking about when we discuss trans-inclusion in sports.


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Speaking with TIME in an interview about Title IX, the 36-year-old invited readers to re-examine the debate around transgender athletes’ participation in the competition.

“We need to start from inclusion, period,” she told TIME. “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 mentioned the different regulations based on the level of competition, starting from a place of inclusion at the youth level and becoming more strict up to the professional level.

“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,” Rapinoe said.

“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.”

Meanwhile…

Tuesday morning, the “NWSL to the Bay” campaign became a reality, in a new California expansion bid centered around the Bay Area.

The bid is led by soccer legends Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osbourne, Danielle Slaton, and Aly Wagner.
Southern California is now represented by Angel City FC and the San Diego Wave, and the Bay Area group sees the success of the league’s two newest teams as an encouragement.

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Chastain, Osbourne, Slaton, and Wagner are the public faces of the bid, which includes investors in sports, tech, business, and more — but they told The Athletic that the group is 70 percent women.
NorCal NWSL expansion had appeared to be in the cards in Sacramento before 2022, but a bogged-down stadium deal led lead investor Ron Burkle to move the bid to what now has become the league-leading Wave.

New NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said upon her appointment to the job that the league is looking at revamping the expansion bid process, which has the Bay Area group waiting for more news on a timeline.
“We don’t actually know the timeline,” Slaton told The Athletic. “So we’re just trying to control what we can control and really start to let our community know and try to get as much support as possible and learn on our community.”
The NWSL has no plans for further expansion for 2023, but 2024 appears to still be on the table.
The Bay Area hasn’t had a top-tier professional women’s soccer team since the days of the San Jose CyberRays and FC Gold Pride.

The area, however, is a college soccer stronghold, as the regional home for both Stanford University and Santa Clara, of whom the public members of the bid are all alumni.
Bottom line: Former players getting involved appears to be the next step forward for the NWSL, and the Bay Area feels like an obvious fit for an NWSL team. Going public this week will likely further move the needle toward a new team.

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