'Sports Illustrated' Hit With Transphobic Backlash For Featuring Kim Petras As Swimsuit Model
Sports Illustrated has been the talk of the town this week.
First, they announced Martha Stewart as one of their SI Swimsuit cover models, making her the oldest person ever to hold the title at 81 years old.
Now, the internet is buzzing with the news that trans woman Kim Petras joins Stewart as a fellow cover model, alongside Megan Fox and Brooks Nadar.
\u201cAs 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\u201d— Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@Sports Illustrated Swimsuit) 1684155900
Petras is only the second trans woman to be included in SI's swimsuit edition after Leyna Bloom, who was featured in 2021.
But all buzz, sadly, isn't positive buzz, and flocks of transphobic conservatives have taken to social media to express their outrage over SI's decision to feature the Grammy-winning pop star.
\u201cKim Petras, a biological MAN, is Sports Illustrated's new cover model.\u201d— Kelsey Bolar (Harkness) (@Kelsey Bolar (Harkness)) 1684269104
\u201cTwo years in a row Sports Illustrated has taken a coveted spot from actual women to give them to a man who thinks he\u2019s a woman. https://t.co/X0tlCJOwAR\u201d— Even More Pissed Off Patriot (@Even More Pissed Off Patriot) 1684268646
\u201cListen, 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. Why are biological women being replaced\u2026\u201d— MamaK (@MamaK) 1684241864
\u201c@POdPatriot This sickness has to stop. How confusing to impressionable youth.\u201d— Even More Pissed Off Patriot (@Even More Pissed Off Patriot) 1684268646
\u201c@kelseybolar I didn't realize they let MEN be SI Swimsuit Models. I guess even men who like to play dress up! A man is a man and a woman is a woman. There is no in between. That is the cold hard facts!\u201d— Kelsey Bolar (Harkness) (@Kelsey Bolar (Harkness)) 1684269104
And, as with the great Bud Light boycott of 2023, transphobes are now swearing off Sports Illustrated.
\u201c@POdPatriot Cancelling!\u201d— Even More Pissed Off Patriot (@Even More Pissed Off Patriot) 1684268646
\u201c@POdPatriot Once maybe they made a mistake, twice rubbing it in your face! Bye bye sports illustrated!\u201d— Even More Pissed Off Patriot (@Even More Pissed Off Patriot) 1684268646
\u201c@POdPatriot Ill avoid the SI magazine at all costs\u201d— Even More Pissed Off Patriot (@Even More Pissed Off Patriot) 1684268646
\u201c@POdPatriot Bye bye SI\u201d— Even More Pissed Off Patriot (@Even More Pissed Off Patriot) 1684268646
Fortunately, however, many expressed there is plenty of space for everyone to be included.
\u201c@KiraR There have been 100+ sports illustrated swimsuit models and 1 is trans. What have we lost to trans women? Nothing. 1 out of 100 is hardly cause for concern. Stop clutching your pearls and get with a new decade. Trans people exist and deserve the same rights and opportunities\u201d— MamaK (@MamaK) 1684241864
\u201c@KiraR Replaced? There are 3 other women sharing the magazine covers, and plenty more inside. Seems there are plenty of opportunities to go around here. So what's your real issue here?\u201d— MamaK (@MamaK) 1684241864
\u201c@KiraR This is a magazine cover, not a sports competition. There's no reason SI can't feature beautiful people of any biological sex. Feminists wanted gender equality. Strange how that only applies when it's women breaking into careers traditionally only for men.\u201d— MamaK (@MamaK) 1684241864
\u201c@KiraR A swimsuit model isn't an award nor is it a sport. Martha Stewart is another cover model of the 4 editions this year. Who cares what Kim's birth sex was, she's got a vagina now. She's not competing against women, she's a singer that was chosen for a unique SI theme. Grow up\u201d— MamaK (@MamaK) 1684241864
\u201c@KiraR They aren't being replaced. Trans women finally being SEEN replaces nobody. It only adds to people being represented. Not everything is about you.\u201d— MamaK (@MamaK) 1684241864
\u201c@KiraR Imagine being this upset over nothing. When did being a model become a "biological woman" only thing? Who are you to decide what vocation or activity or thing is solely for [insert demographic here]? Should we go back to "whites only" drinking fountains and restaurants?\u201d— MamaK (@MamaK) 1684241864
In a special "Letter from the Editor,"Sports Illustrated editor in chief MJ Day shared:
"I am often asked what the 'theme' is of the issue. There is no theme— rather, there is a vision, a sentiment, a hope that women can live in a world where they feel no limitations, internally or externally."
Of Petras, Day said:
"The Grammy-winning pop star, a beacon of inspiration for the LGBTQ+ community, has blazed her own path to superstardom, but it has been anything but a straight line."
Petras herself shared her excitement:
“It’s very iconic, and a lot of very iconic people have done it before, so, big dream come true for me.”
“I hope people take away from this that I look really hot and Sports Illustrated is cool.”
Petras also expressed her hope of inspiring others:
“I think what you do is the most important thing, not what your gender is.”
“No matter what your gender or sexuality or any of that stuff is, it’s about what you make of life and it’s about what’s inside of you and all of that, so I hope that can be inspiring to people.”