Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue unveils Leyna Bloom as first-ever trans cover star

Lily Wakefield July 19, 2021
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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue trans Leyna Bloom

Leyna Bloom is the first-ever trans woman to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. (Instagram/ si_swimsuit)

Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue has unveiled its first ever trans cover star, model Leyna Bloom.

The theme for this year’s Swimsuit Issue is “Opening Eyes, Speaking Truths and Changing Minds”, with three different covers featuring Bloom, rapper Megan Thee Stallion and tennis star Naomi Osaka.

As well as being the issue’s first trans cover star, Bloom, who is Black and Filipino, is the first trans woman of colour to be featured in the pages of the Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.

Last year, the magazine featured Valentina Sampaio, a Brazilian model who was the first trans woman to ever appear in the issue.

Bloom, who found international fame as mother of the House of Miyake-Mugler and walking the category of face in New York City’s’s ballroom scene, shared her iconic cover on Instagram.

Leyna Bloom says Sports Illustrated cover ‘heals a lot of pain’

Writing on Instagram, Leyna Bloom said: “This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment and we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder.

“I’m am so happy, honored, and humbled to share that I’m the first trans woman to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated!”

She added: “I have dreamt a million beautiful dreams but for girls like me, most dreams are just fanciful hopes in a world that often erases and omits our history and even existence.

“This moment is so powerful because it allows me to live forever even after my physical form is gone. Not a lot of people get to live in the future, so at this moment, I’m proudly choosing to live forever.

“I dedicate this cover to all ballroom femme queens past, present and future. This historical moment is important to girls like us because it allows us to live and be seen. 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. Let me be a messenger guiding us to a future of respect and appreciation for all women in all forms and from all walks of life.”

Related topics: leyna bloom, Sports Illustrated, trans representation

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