Sports Illustrated faces backlash over trans pop star Kim Petras as cover model for swimsuit issues

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Sports Illustrated’s decision to make transgender pop star Kim Petras its new swimsuit model has sparked backlash online.

On Monday, during the unveiling of Martha Stewart as its newest cover girl, Sports Illustrated also revealed trans woman and Grammy-winning pop singer Kim Petras as one of its Swimsuit Edition cover models. The two now join Megan Fox and Brooks Nadar.

It didn’t take long for people to agree online with Sports Illustrated’s decision.

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“Kim Petras, a biological MAN, is the new Sports Illustrated cover model,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Two years in a row, Sports Illustrated has taken a coveted spot from real women to give it to a man who thinks he’s a woman,” said another Twitter user.

In an interview, SI Swimsuit editor-in-chief MJ Day said there was no theme for this year’s shoot, calling Petras a “beacon of inspiration for the LGBTQIA+ community.

“There is no theme [to this year’s issue]— rather, there’s a vision, a feeling, a hope that women can live in a world where they don’t feel any limitations, internal or external,” Day said. “But the absence of a theme does not mean that [these women] do not share certain common features. They are constantly evolving.”

“Listen, if you’re an adult and want to identify as a different gender, be my guest, but the recent trend for businesses and sports to put trans women in the top positions and give top positions instead of biological women is more than concerning ,” said another Twitter user. “Why are biological women being replaced by biological men in these spaces yet again? And where are all the feminists who have been advocating this cause for decades. This is a focused 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 a big dream come true for me,” Petras said, Fox News reports. “I hope people can see from this that I look really good and that Sports Illustrated is cool.”

This is Petras’ first time on the cover, and she is now the second trans woman to be featured in the magazine after actress Leyna Bloom created the series in 2021.

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