The first trans woman to be on the front of Sports Illustrated says she can now live ‘freely’.
Leyna Bloom, from the US, is trailblazing the way for diversity within the modelling industry after being the first woman of colour to feature in the magazine, as she’s just sported the cover too.
In a chat with Yahoo Life, the 27-year-old said: “I can live freely. I can live out in the open. The trans models and the trans bodies that have been in the entertainment business could not do that. They had to hide who they were so they can just eat, so they can just have a dream.”
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s editor-in-chief MJ Day also told the publication that Bloom’s inclusion in the 2021 issue titled ‘Opening Eyes, Speaking Truths, Changing Minds’ speaks for itself.
“Leyna is one of the most incredibly kind, caring, patient, invested, compassionate human beings,” Day commented.
On Instagram, Bloom said the achievement had made her finally feel ‘valued’ for who she is.
She penned: “This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment.
“I dedicate this cover to all ballroom femme queens past, present and future. Many girls like us don’t have the chance to live our dreams or to live long at all. I hope my cover empowers those, who are struggling to be seen, feel valued.”
The decision to feature the actress and model on the magazine’s prestigious cover comes as Republicans have pushed for legislation to ban trans girls and women from competing on girls’ and women’s sports teams.
At least nine states have enforced such bans, though they face legal challenges.
There’s so much going on in sports alone with gender identity and trans women trying to be in sports. But to have a trans woman as a symbol of beauty in swimsuits on a beach in comparison to other icons, like Tyra Banks and Giselle and Heidi Klum, it’s a testament to what’s happening right now in the world and what’s going to happen in the future.
Words by Emily Brewster
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