Sports Illustrated Features First Transgender Cover Model in 2021 Swimsuit Edition

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Sports Illustrated is celebrating breaking its own barriers this week as it debuts the 2021 Swimsuit Edition featuring a transgender cover model for the first time in history.

The theme for this year is “Opening Eyes, Speaking Truths and Changing Minds,” and there are three different covers for readers to pick from, one of which is graced by transgender model Leyna Bloom, who identifies as a woman.

Bloom celebrated the cover on Twitter, declaring that transgender people have been fighting for “millions” of years for this kind of visibility.

“There are 3 black women on three separate covers for Sports Illustrated and I’m one of them WOW!” Bloom tweeted.

“This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment; we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder,” the model also wrote, along with a picture of the magazine cover.

The other two versions of the Swimsuit Edition featured rapper Megan Thee Stallion and Japanese-American tennis star Naomi Osaka.

MJ Day, the editor-in-chief of the iconic annual publication, described Bloom as “legendary in the world of activism, strikingly gorgeous, and has an undeniable sense of self that shines through the minute she walks on set.”

He said that the transgender model’s “story represents one grounded in resilience, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to help her tell it. Her presence as the first trans woman of color to be in our issue is a result of her lifetime dedication to forging her own path.”

Bloom is most certainly receiving the most attention for being featured on the Swimsuit Edition for becoming the first transgender model to do so, and Day believes that “the more diverse and inclusive a community, the stronger it becomes.”

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition is most commonly known for publishing glossy images of scantily clad, beach-bound models.

Victoria’s Secret, the lingerie brand famous for its similarly dressed “angels,” recently announced a rebrand which includes the introduction of its first transgender model, Vanetina Sampaio.

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