Less than a month away from the London Games, U.S. women’s soccer standout Megan Rapinoe says publicly for the first time that she is gay.
The timing is important, because Rapinoe, who turns 27 on Thursday, wants her story to empower others in the LGBT community.
While she’s long been openly gay to her family and teammates, Rapinoe addressed her sexuality definitively in an interview with Out Magazine:
“For the record: I am gay,” she said.
She explained her reasons for coming out in a Monday evening phone interview with USA TODAY Sports.
“To be honest I’ve been thinking about it for a while, trying to find a time that works, now leading up to the Olympics, people want to get personal stories,” she says. “Our team in general is in a position where people look up to us and kids look up to us. I embrace that and I think I have a huge LGBT following. I think it’s pretty cool, the opportunity that I have, especially in sports. There’s really not that many out athletes. It’s important to be out and to live my life that way.”