QUEER VOICES

Queer Women Dominated The Women's World Cup. Here's Why It Matters

Unlike last year's Men's World Cup tournament which featured zero openly gay players, this year's women's equivalent dominated on the queer front with nearly 20 openly out players and coaches, four of whom were on the winning U.S. team.

Cyd Zeigler, the co-founder of Outsports, joked with HuffPost Live's Alex Berg on Thursday that he doesn't think anyone is "surprised" by a lesbian being on a soccer team. But he explained why it's so "powerful" to see queer players like Abby Wambach, whom he called "a symbol of American soccer," and Megan Rapinoe representing the Women's World Cup.

"The fact that it was these women [like] out and proud Wambach talking about how getting married to her wife really reinvigorated her interest in soccer," he explained. "And then, after the final match, running over and finding her wife in the stands and embracing her and kissing her on national television."

Zeigler reminded us that just one year ago, Michael Sam faced heavy criticism for kissing his boyfriend on national television upon learning about his NFL draft selection. In contrast, Wambach's (heart-melting) kiss was "celebrated."

"I think it's who it is and how powerfully strong they have been in being out, proud women -- I think that's really the story," Zeigler said, adding that it's "awesome" to see more players come out to inspire the youth who are struggling with their sexual orientation.

"We at Outsports have not heard of a negative coming out story in sports for 15 years and we believe that virtually everyone can come out to their team and they would be welcomed and embraced," he said.

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BEFORE YOU GO

  • Members of the U.S. women's World Cup championship soccer team ride on a float during a ticker tape parade honoring the team
    Members of the U.S. women's World Cup championship soccer team ride on a float during a ticker tape parade honoring the team in New York, Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
  • U.S. women's soccer team midfielder Megan Rapinoe, center, holds up the World Cup trophy as she rides a float with midfielder
    U.S. women's soccer team midfielder Megan Rapinoe, center, holds up the World Cup trophy as she rides a float with midfielder Carli Lloyd, left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left background, and head coach Jill Ellis, right, as their float makes it way up Broadway's Canyon of Heroes during the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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  • From left to right, Taylor George, Mackenzie Frail and her sister Kirsten Frail of Middletown, Del., look on as the U.S. Wome
    From left to right, Taylor George, Mackenzie Frail and her sister Kirsten Frail of Middletown, Del., look on as the U.S. Women's World Cup soccer championship team parades along Broadway to City Hall, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
  • A fan holds a sign demanding equal pay for the female soccer players during the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. wome
    A fan holds a sign demanding equal pay for the female soccer players during the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has his arm around U.S. women's World Cup team forward Abby Wambach during a ticker tape parad
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has his arm around U.S. women's World Cup team forward Abby Wambach during a ticker tape parade honoring the World Cup champions in New York, Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
  • Abby Wambach takes a photo as she and her teammates from the U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team parade along Broadway to City
    Abby Wambach takes a photo as she and her teammates from the U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team parade along Broadway to City Hall, Friday July 10, 2015, in New York. The U.S. defeated Japan, 5-2, for the championship. (AP Photo/Bryan R, Smith)
  • Lucie Keleman of New York's Westchester County cheers as U.S. Women's World Cup soccer champions make their way up Broadway t
    Lucie Keleman of New York's Westchester County cheers as U.S. Women's World Cup soccer champions make their way up Broadway to City Hall, during a ticker tape parade honoring the team Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
  • Caigan Leonard, 9, of New Windsor, N.Y., wears a number 13 soccer jersey like team USA player Alex Morgan while waiting for t
    Caigan Leonard, 9, of New Windsor, N.Y., wears a number 13 soccer jersey like team USA player Alex Morgan while waiting for the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • U.S. women's soccer team fans cheer as the players make their way up Broadway's Canyon of Heroes during the ticker tape parad
    U.S. women's soccer team fans cheer as the players make their way up Broadway's Canyon of Heroes during the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, at center on float, gestures during a ticker tape parade for the U.S. women's World Cup socce
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, at center on float, gestures during a ticker tape parade for the U.S. women's World Cup soccer team Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. The U.S. team defeated Japan to win the World Cup on Sunday. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
  • A young fan cheers while waiting for the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team World Cup victory, Frid
    A young fan cheers while waiting for the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
  • The U.S. Women's World Cup team stands on floats as they move through thousands of fans along Broadway, Friday, July 10, 2015
    The U.S. Women's World Cup team stands on floats as they move through thousands of fans along Broadway, Friday, July 10, 2015 in New York in a view from 150 Broadway. The U.S. defeated Japan 5-2 on Sunday in Canada to win the World Cup. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
  • A police officer with two U.S. women's soccer team fans points as the floats with players makes its way up Broadway's Canyon
    A police officer with two U.S. women's soccer team fans points as the floats with players makes its way up Broadway's Canyon of Heroes during the ticker tape parade to celebrate the World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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