Transgender swimsuit model on Sports Illustrated cover: 'We deserve this moment'
© Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

Transgender model and actress Leyna Bloom on Monday weighed in on her history-making move as one of the three cover stars of this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, explaining that she and other members of the trans community “deserve this moment.” 

Bloom wrote in a lengthy Instagram post showing her cover image as both the first transgender cover model and the first transgender person of color to appear in Sports Illustrated, “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,” added Bloom, who has said she was raped as a child.


“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,” she continued. “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,” she added.

Bloom went on to say that she wanted to “dedicate this cover to all ballroom femme queens past, present and future.” 

“This historical moment is important to #girlslikeus because it allows us to live and be seen,” the ballroom dancer explained. “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,” she wrote. “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.”


Bloom, along with tennis star Naomi Osaka and rapper Megan Thee Stallion, will appear on separate covers of the Sports Illustrated issue set to hit newsstands this Thursday. 

The three covers were unveiled by Sports Illustrated Monday, with the magazine's swimsuit editor in chief, MJ Day, saying that Bloom's story represents "one grounded in resilience, and we couldn't be more thrilled to help her tell it."

Bloom told ABC News when Sports Illustrated announced her as a cover star earlier this year, “I never imagined that I will be born in the time when something like this will happen for someone with my skin tone, and with someone with my background.” 

Osaka is also making history with her appearance as the first female Black athlete to pose for a cover of the popular swimsuit edition.