Out soccer star and total babe Megan Rapinoe is blazing a trail on the pages of Sports Illustrated: This May, she became the first openly gay woman to pose for the magazine’s iconic Swimsuit Issue.
In a statement to SI, Rapinoe, who plays for the United States women’s national soccer team, praised the magazine for making a “bold statement” by including a lesbian in a series that traditionally caters to heterosexual men:
I think it’s really quite a bold statement by Sports Illustrated to be honest because it has been seen as sort of this magazine only for heterosexual males. 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.
Re—Swimsuit Model. @SI_Swimsuit
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) May 8, 2019
Rapinoe added that she hopes her SI debut helps open the door for future LGBTQ representation—and eliminate enduring stereotypes about what it means to be a lesbian athlete. “Stereotypes still very much persist and they are just such incomplete views of who we really are as people,” she said, “so I think for that reason it’s really important to just continue to push those boundaries.”
This isn’t the first time Rapinoe has made history on the pages of a magazine. Back in 2018, the soccer champion and her partner, WNBA star Sue Bird, became the first same-sex couple to pose for ESPN’s Body Issue. (Out Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon was featured in the photo series, too.)
Rapinoe’s in good company, as well. Fellow trailblazers like America’s Next Top Model icon Tyra Banks—who was the first African-American woman to pose for the mag’s Swimsuit Issue 22 years ago (!!!)—also joined the fun, proving once and for all that “sexy” has no age limit.
Kudos to Rapinoe, who absolutely slayed in her sheer, skin-toned one-piece and yellow bikini. Cues the heart eyes.
Visit SI’s website for the full photoshoot.