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Megan Rapinoe Says Male Athletes ‘Don’t Feel Safe’ Coming Out

U.S. and OL Reign star Megan Rapinoe says it is up to non-LGBTQ+ owners, fans and players to create a safe atmosphere for male athletes to come out.

During an appearance on Sky SportsThe HangOUT with Chelsea players Pernille Harder and Magda Eriksson, Rapinoe was asked why she believes there are fewer openly gay male athletes playing professional sports. She believes women’s sports have presented a much more “safe” environment for athletes to come out.

“Why aren’t there any out male athletes in the elite sports? Well, it’s not safe. They don’t feel safe. They either feel that they’re going to be abused from fans, they’re going to be kicked off teams, have slurs thrown at them, whatever it is,” Rapinoe said. “So it’s not safe, and until it is safe we won’t see any male players. I think it’s safer on the women’s side, and I think we have a lot of camaraderie just between ourselves and a lot more people coming out, which makes it easier for everyone, but I would say from the sporting directors to the club owners to the fans, to all the players, it’s your responsibility also.”

Last summer, Carl Nassib became the first openly gay active player in the NFL, putting him on a very short list in men’s sports. Comparatively, there are many top women’s athletes like Rapinoe who are open members of the LGBTQ community.

Until fans and those in power around the sports world dedicate themselves to fostering a more supportive environment for gay male athletes, Rapinoe believes we’ll continue to see that disparity.

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