Professional basketball player Sue Bird and soccer star Megan Rapinoe became the first same-sex couple to grace the cover of ESPN’s magazine’s annual Body Issue this week, a landmark that the two Olympic gold medalists said they hoped could help make an impact in a world where homophobia remains all too common — and especially so in the sports world.
“Visibility is important,” Rapinoe told ESPN’s Jemele Hill. “We need to be celebrating things that are different about us and accepting them and trying to understand them better.”
“It’s pretty incredible to be in this moment,” she added.
While Rapinoe has been an outspoken LGBT activist since she came out publicly in 2012, Bird acknowledged that she had long avoided speaking out publicly about her sexuality. She had told family and friends that she was a lesbian in 2002 — the year she was named the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft — but as she explained to ESPN, “that’s not the same as coming out.”
— Mary Emily O’Hara (@MaryEmilyOHara) June 25, 2018
“Being around Megan, I learned that,” said Bird. “After I came out, just seeing the reactions, having people come up to me directly. I think there’s just something really powerful about that.”
“The way I see it is more how you want to change the conversation or change the narrative of things,” she continued. “I think having a gay couple on [the cover], hopefully it just becomes the norm. You want it to not be an issue. You want it to just be, ‘Oh, another couple is on there.’ You know, I think for us to be on it is the first step in that direction.”
Watch video coverage of the story below.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.