Star athletes Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe are the first openly gay couple on the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue.
“Visibility is important. It’s important for there to be a first one on the cover, or whatever,” stated Rapinoe. “Just in terms of the culture and society, someone has to do it.”
Bird is a two-time WNBA champion and four-time Olympic gold medalist. Rapinoe is a professional soccer player for Seattle Reign and has won gold and silver Women’s World Cup medals. The two have been dating since 2016.
“I think having a gay couple on [the cover], hopefully it just becomes the norm,” said Bird. “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.”
The couple’s photos have been met with plenty of support online.
Athlete Ally tweeted, “Megan Rapino and Sue Bird became the first same-sex couple featured in @espn’s Body Issue. A fantastic moment for LGBTQ inclusion and visibility in sports.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted, “Visibility is so important — major shout out to @S10Bird and @mPinoe 9and @ReignFC and @seattlestorm of course0 for being incredible athletes and an inspiration to young women and LGBTQ+ people everywhere.”