In the current 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) soccer tournament, at least 30 players are lesbian and bi women and one coach. That’s the highest number of out players ever to participate in the international sporting tournament. During the last WWC, the number of out participants was 18.
The U.S. and the Netherlands have the most out players with 5 out lesbian and bi women each.
“While the men’s professional game has been reluctant to be fully inclusive and supportive of anyone within the game who identifies as LGBT, it’s generally regarded that football is much more accepting of women who are lesbian or bisexual,” Lindsay England, founder of Just A Ball Game, an organization that works to end anti-LGBT bias in soccer, told Outsports.
One engaged couple, Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger, play for the U.S.
One of the most famous out lesbian players is American player Megan Rapino. Rapino and her LGBTQ teammates have faced considerable adversity on and off the courts. Rapino was one of the 42 LGBTQ athletes who played in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. She and her teammates had to tolerate anti-gay chants by fans there.
Rapino has been bravely open about her sexuality and some of her personal life. After the Olympics, Rapino revealed her relationship with WNBA basketball player Sue Bird. She is also turned her platform as an athlete into activism.
She has kneeled and remained silent during the National Anthem at matches and her and others are suing the U.S. soccer federation for gender-based discrimination that favors male players.