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Sports Illustrated’s decision to make transgender pop star Kim Petras its new swimsuit cover model has sparked backlash online.
On Monday, in the midst of revealing Martha Stewart as its latest cover girl, Sports Illustrated also unveiled trans woman and Grammy-winning pop singer Kim Petras as another one of its cover models for the Swimsuit Edition. The two now join Megan Fox and Brooks Nadar.
It wasn’t long before people online started chiming in on Sports Illustrated’s decision.
“Kim Petras, a biological MAN, is Sports Illustrated’s new cover model,” a Twitter user wrote.
“Two years in a row Sports Illustrated has taken a coveted spot from actual women to give them to a man who thinks he’s a woman,” another Twitter user said.
In an interview, SI Swimsuit Editor-in-Chief MJ Day said there was no theme for this year’s shoot, and referred to Petras as a “beacon of inspiration for the LGBTQIA+ community.
As if being a Grammy-Award winning artist and history maker wasn't enough, Kim Petras is now adding SI Swimsuit COVER model to her list of accomplishments. https://t.co/ESSyOwdMJI
— Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@SI_Swimsuit) May 15, 2023
“There is no theme [to this year’s issue]—rather, there is a vision, a sentiment, a hope that women can live in a world where they feel no limitations, internally or externally,” Day said. “But the absence of a theme is not to say that [these women] don’t share certain common traits. They’re constantly evolving.”
“Listen, if you are an adult and want to identify as a different gender, be my guest, but the recent trend for companies and sports to feature and give top the awards/spots to trans women instead of biological women is more than concerning,” another Twitter user said. “Why are biological women being replaced in these spaces by biological men once again? And where are all the feminists who championed this cause for decades. This is a targeted agenda, and it ends when we say it ends.”
As for Petras, she reportedly said she was excited to get the call from the magazine.
“It’s very iconic, and a lot of very iconic people have done it before, so, big dream come true for me,” Petras said, Fox News reports. “I hope people take away from this that I look really hot and Sports Illustrated is cool.”
This is Petras’ first time on the cover, and she is now the second trans woman to be included in the magazine after actress Leyna Bloom made the series in 2021.