Soccer star Rapinoe named to CA Hall of Fame

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday November 2, 2022
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U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame next month. Photo: Courtesy California Museum<br>
U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame next month. Photo: Courtesy California Museum

USA women's soccer champion Megan Rapinoe has been named as one of the members of the 15th class of the California Hall of Fame, Governor Gavin Newsom and first partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom announced November 1. The global sports superstar grew up in the Northern California town of Redding near Mount Shasta.

Rapinoe, 37, a lesbian, has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights, women's rights, and racial justice. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Joe Biden in July.

Ahead of the midterm elections on November 8, Rapinoe has urged Americans to exercise their right to vote, especially women, as part of the Voting Suits You initiative asking female voters to wear pink suits to the ballot box on Tuesday. In an October 20 post LINK: on her Instagram account, Rapinoe posted a picture of her adorned in a pink shirt, jacket and pants combo.

"When we organize, when we march, and most importantly when we VOTE we are unstoppable. From equal pay to abortion access, our freedoms are under attack," she wrote. "That's why, this November, we're showing up — with determination, with joy, and in pink — to cast our votes and demand a government that represents us."

Rapinoe led the U.S. Women's National Team to win the Women's World cup in 2015 and 2019, and scored some of the biggest goals in the 2019 tournament as team co-captain. On the Olympic stage, Rapinoe led the team to a gold medal at the 2012 London Games, according to her bio in the hall of fame materials.

Actor Lynda Carter. Photo: Courtesy California Museum  

Newsom and Siebel Newsom praised all of the members of the incoming class, who also include singer Linda Ronstadt, actor Lynda Carter, and Olympic champion ice skater Peggy Fleming.

"These phenomenal individuals are proof that the California dream is alive and well," Newsom stated in a news release. "Jennifer and I are excited to induct the 15th class of leaders, dreamers, and innovators into the California Hall of Fame and celebrate these Californians who broke down barriers and reimagined what was possible."

This year marks the return of an in-person ceremony following the induction of a virtual class during the COVID pandemic, the governor's office stated. That ceremony will be held Tuesday, December 13, according to the California Museum, which holds the event and works on the hall of fame project with the governor and first partner's offices. The ceremony will be livestreamed on YouTube.

This year's other members of the class are: chef Roy Choi, physicist Steven Chu, sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, choreographer Alonzo King, teacher and former astronaut Barbara Morgan, artist Ed Ruscha, and the band Las Tigres del Norte.

"We're thrilled to join the Governor and First Partner in celebrating these remarkable Californians," stated California Museum Board of Trustees Chair Anne-Marie Petrie. "Their achievements will inspire thousands of Museum visitors in the year ahead to pursue their own dreams."

Past LGBTQ inductees to the hall include the late gay Supervisor Harvey Milk, gay artist David Hockney, lesbian tennis star Billie Jean King, gay TV star George Takei, gay San Francisco Symphony music director laureate Michael Tilson Thomas, the late lesbian astronaut Sally Ride, gay drag queen and reality TV host RuPaul Charles, and the late pioneering lesbian couple Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin. Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger established the hall of fame in 2006 in collaboration with the California Museum and his former wife, Maria Shriver.

Sarria snubbed again
LGBTQ leaders are still hoping that the late San Francisco drag queen José Julio Sarria is one day inducted into the hall. LGBTQ community leaders across the Golden State launched an effort to see Sarria be named to the hall in 2015 due to it being the 50th anniversary of the Imperial Court System. Sarria established the court in San Francisco, and it became a major LGBT philanthropic group throughout North America.

Sarria, who died in 2013 at the age of 90, made history in 1961 with his unsuccessful bid for a San Francisco Board of Supervisors seat. It marked the first time an out gay person had sought elected office in the U.S.

The campaign to induct Sarria has broad support, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported. He will be inducted into the Palm Springs Walk of Stars this December, as the B.A.R. reported in September.

It is part of the 100th Jubilee celebrations taking place for Sarria in the LGBTQ tourist and retirement mecca. The events are being organized by the José Sarria Foundation, which considers December 12, 1922 to be Sarria's birthdate.

It is what is on Sarria's headstone, noted foundation founder Gene Brake, who is helping to coordinate the jubilee events. (Other records say Sarria was born December 12, 1923 at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco.)

San Diego resident Nicole Murray Ramirez, who was elected an empress of the Imperial Court in 1973 and currently holds the title of Queen Mother I of the Americas, Canada, United States, and Mexico, did not immediately respond to a text message about continuing to work to get Sarria inducted into the California Hall of Fame.

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