Megan Rapinoe has condemned the decision to ban transgender athletes from women's sports events, calling it "disgusting" and "cruel".
Throughout her decorated career, the US footballer has continued use her platform to support the LGBTQI community, and the recent news that swimming's governing body decided to restrict trans inclusion clearly hasn't sat well with her.
“I’m 100 percent supportive of trans inclusion. People do not know very much about it. We’re missing almost everything," Rapinoe told TIME.
"Frankly, I think what a lot of people know is versions of the right’s talking points because they’re very loud. They’re very consistent, and they’re relentless.
"At the highest level, there is regulation. In collegiate sports, there is regulation. And at the Olympic and professional level. It’s not like it’s a free-for-all where everyone’s just doing whatever."
Rapinoe, who is widely regarded as one of the most successful female footballers on the planet, has also demanded evidence to support the argument that trans athletes are negatively impacting women's sports.
She added: "Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone’s scholarships, are dominating in every sport, are winning every title. I’m sorry, it’s just not happening.
"So we need to start from inclusion, period. 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.
"So, we need to really kind of take a step back and get a grip on what we’re really talking about here because people’s lives are at risk. Kids’ lives are at risk with the rates of suicide, the rates of depression and negative mental health and drug abuse.
"We’re putting everything through God forbid a trans person be successful in sports. Get a grip on reality and take a step back."
News of FINA's call to ban trans athletes from competing in women's elite swimming races has been greeted with a mixed reception.
Some sports fans - much like Rapinoe - have hit out at the 'inclusivity' issue, while others have praised the decision for putting 'fairness' first.
Either way, it seems people are still divided.
That said, a number of big-name sports figures in the swimming community are starting to come out and have their say on the matter – the majority of whom appearing to support it.
"We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete," FINA president Husain Al-Musallam said.
"But we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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