American soccer player Megan Rapinoe has accused Dave Chappelle of making jokes she believes are directly linked to violence against the transgender community.
Following the announcement of her retirement from soccer on July 8, Rapinoe was profiled in a lengthy feature for Time Magazine, which highlighted her career, her fight to achieve equal pay as a female athlete, and her views on trans-rights advocacy.
While Rapinoe first began making headlines for her outspoken women’s rights advocacy, after the House passed an equal pay bill in 2022 which ensured all athletes representing the US received equal pay and benefits, Rapinoe shifted her energy to trans rights. She became an outspoken advocate for trans-identified male athletes, specifically focusing on eradicating “policies designed to keep transgender girls and women from playing” on female sports teams.
“We as a country are trying to legislate away people’s full humanity,” Rapinoe said during her Time Magazine interview. “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.”
Continuing her point, Rapinoe explained that public figures like tennis champion Martina Navratilova, ESPN anchor Sage Steele, and stand-up comedian Dave Chapelle have “done harm that reaches far beyond the field.”
Chappelle, who has several popular comedy specials with Netflix, has been labeled transphobic and controversial over the years for making jokes about the transgender community and doubling down on his comments after sparking outrage amongst LGBT activists.
“Dave Chappelle making jokes about trans people directly leads to violence, whether it’s verbal or otherwise, against trans people,” Rapinoe claimed. “When Martina or Sage 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.'”
Rapinoe, who is playing in her fourth and final World Cup starting July 20, also stated that in light of everything, she would “absolutely” embrace a trans-identified male on the US women’s soccer team.
Defending her position, Rapinoe explains that she sees “trans women as real women” and disagrees with the argument that a trans athlete is “taking a ‘real’ woman’s place” on the team.
The inclusion of trans-identified males in women’s sport has become a heated topic due to several recent instances of female athletes being seriously injured by males who had self-identified into women’s categories.
Reduxx, a pro-woman news outlet, reported on May 21 that a trans-identified male named Riley Dennis had injured a female player while competing in a women’s football league in New South Wales, Australia.
Similarly, on May 11, a newly transitioned biological male named “Anna” was alleged to have injured a young female player at a field hockey match he was playing in. According to Reduxx, the trans-identified player, formerly known as Greg MacDonald, played on the men’s field hockey team at St. Andrews University in Scotland prior to playing with women.
Questions of fairness have also been raised as a number of trans-identified male athletes have recently dominated the women’s categories of various sports, including cycling and running.
As previously reported by The Publica, a male recently seized first place in a women’s cycling championship in North Carolina, taking a lead of nearly 5 minutes over the female competitors.
Austin Killips, a 27-year-old man who identifies as a transgender “woman,” was crowned the victor of the 137-mile Belgian Waffle Ride, sparking a furor on social media. As a result of the backlash, the competition has announced it will no longer allow males to self-identify into the female category.