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The images from the 10th anniversary issue of ESPN Magazine’s Body Issue dropped earlier this week and as usual, they’re pretty incredible. But what’s even more exciting is that ESPN Magazine has given us nude portraits featuring three beautiful queer people, including one on the cover, making it the most queer-inclusive Body Issue ever.
The LGBTQ athletes who stripped down for this anniversary issue include gay Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, lesbian WNBA player Sue Bird and her partner, soccer star Megan Rapinoe. Bird and Rapinoe’s print cover marks the first time a queer couple has ever graced the front of the Body Issue.
“It’s pretty amazing to think about [being on the cover of the Body Issue], especially in the times we’re in,” Rapinoe, a midfielder for the Seattle Reign FC, told the magazine. “Just think of how far we’ve come, but also the current climate. Not only are we female athletes, but we’re dating as well. It’s kind of badass.”
Launched in 2008, the Body Issue’s 10 limited-edition covers are ESPN’s way of celebrating the athletic form. “The goal has always been for us to celebrate the athletic form — in every shape and size — and to allow people to stop and marvel at the works of art these bodies truly are,” Alison Overholt, editor in chief of the magazine, said in a statement.
“I couldn’t have done this [shoot] while I was in the closet,” Rippon told the magazine. “I think that, with my experience of coming out, I felt so liberated in so many ways.”
In the past, ESPN has showcased other LGBTQ athletes in the annual feature issue, including trans duathlete Chris Mosier in 2016.