US Footballer Megan Rapinoe dedicated her Time’s Woman of the Year honour to the trans community.

Over the last few months, numerous states across the United States have introduced over 300 bills targeting trans and non-binary people.

On 2 March, Tennessee’s Republican governor Bill Lee banned gender-affirming care for trans youth. A couple of months prior, Utah passed a similar anti-trans legislation law.

In addition to the number of hateful bills, violence against trans and non-binary individuals has reached staggering heights.

According to Human Rights Watch, 38 trans people were killed in 2022 due to hatred and bigotry, and most of these deaths were trans women of colour.

In response to the dangerous rise of anti-trans rhetoric, various LGBTQ+ activists and public figures have used their platform to fight against the hate, including openly gay athlete Rapinoe.

On 9 March, the Olympic athlete dedicated her Women of the Year honour to the trans community during her speech at Time’s second annual Women of the Year gala.

“I’m only here because of them. We all know what’s going on in our country with the attempted erasure of trans people,” she said.

Rapinoe went on to praise the trans community for refusing to live their lives “any other way than completely whole”.

“I’m inspired by the invitation to be completely myself. They offer us a full view of what it means to be a human in the world. A whole opportunity to be the crazy ass human beings that we are. That’s a great gift,” she continued.

Towards the end of her speech, Rapinoe called for more inclusion within the women’s rights movement.

“White women have left Black women – and everyone else – behind. Straight women leave queer women behind. Let’s not be those kinds of people,” she said.

“Being a woman: make it expansive. Don’t ever leave anybody behind… Let’s bring everyone in and figure the rest out from there.”

This isn’t the first time Rapinoe has used her platform to fight for trans rights and LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Back in 2021, the beloved athlete slammed the number of bills banning trans youth from participating in school sports.

“Sports have become another avenue to attack the rights of trans people. These efforts cause incredible harm to trans youth, who, like all kids in a global pandemic, are feeling isolated and need compassion and support,” she told The Washington Post.

“As a woman who played sports my whole life, I know that the threats to women’s and girl’s sports are lack of funding, resources and media coverage; sexual harassment; and unequal pay.”

Watch Rapinoe’s full speech here or below.