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Sports Illustrated announced Friday that its upcoming 56th annual Swimsuit Issue will feature its first-ever transgender model as one of this year’s rookies.
In a personal essay published to SI’s website Friday, transgender model Valentina Sampaio, 23, thanked the outlet “for seeing and respecting me as I truly am” and “for understanding that more than anything, I am human.”
“Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds. We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing,” Sampaio wrote.
“Our options for growing up in a loving and accepting family, having a fruitful experience at school or finding dignified work are unimaginably limited and challenging. I recognize that I am one of the fortunate ones, and my intention is to honor that as best I can.”
— Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@SI_Swimsuit) July 10, 2020
Sampaio’s transgenderism reportedly began with a psychologist diagnosing him as transgender when he was only eight.
“[He] was eight years old when a psychologist identified [him] as transgender, but it wasn’t until [he] was 12 years old that [he] started calling [himself] Valentina,” Business Insider reported in a profile of Sampaio published in 2019.
Sampaio blew up in the media last year after Victoria’s Secret hired him as its first-ever openly transgender model.
“Three days ago, Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio, shared a photograph of herself on Instagram and tagged the Victoria’s Secret Pink brand along with the hashtags: ‘campaign,’ ‘vspink,’ and ‘diversity.’ A day later, she shared a video of herself with the caption: ‘Never stop dreaming,'” Business Insider reported at the time.
Despite Sampaio claiming in his SI essay that transgender people face “snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing,” according to BI’s profile he’s previously “said in multiple interviews that [he] wasn’t bullied for this as a child.”
“[He] said that [he] didn’t struggle as [his] parents (a fisherman and a teacher) along with [his] schoolmates were always accepting of [his] decision. They were ‘proud’ and ‘supportive,’ [he] said,” the outlet noted.
Similarly, the public doesn’t seem to have any issue with Sampaio personally, but many do have an issue with Sports Illustrated — a magazine that’s always been geared for heterosexual men — suddenly now catering to, arguably, gay men instead.
I just can’t see many men being attracted to a man. Good luck
— Susie (@toRightofCenter) July 10, 2020
Beautiful picture but I bet money this won’t sell at newsstands. Male audience expect something else from SI covers.
— eve 🇮🇪🟥 (@HeidiK2018) July 11, 2020
I think the issue is this magazine’s audience is straight men and more so than that the rough and tough types. They are very protective of their masculinity. I can see this making them super uncomfortable especially since they are expecting physically born females.
— jcbc_0929 (@212texasgirlB) July 11, 2020
I am NOT saying this trans woman shouldn’t model. I just think this isn’t the best audience that.
— jcbc_0929 (@212texasgirlB) July 11, 2020
there’s a difference between “accepting transgenders” and needing to shove it in out face on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
— chilidaddy (@chilidaddy63) July 11, 2020
It’s not hate!! Who do you think the target audience is for the swimsuit edition??? Heterosexual Males! I don’t want to gawk at cross dressers..
— T (@exdemocrat44) July 11, 2020
It’s not that at all. I support trans people but this was obviously the wrong audience. The cover of sports illustrated.
— rightsideofhistory (@rightsideofhis2) July 11, 2020
However, SI disagrees with this factually accurate way of thinking.
“Sports Illustrated Swimsuit joins institutions from the Girl Scouts of the USA to Miss Universe in recognizing the simple fact that trans women are women,” Anthony Ramos, the group’s head of talent, said in an email to the Los Angeles Times.
“Talented women like Valentina Sampaio deserve to be spotlighted and given equal opportunities. Her work in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit is a significant step forward as the modeling industry continues its evolution on traditional standards of inclusion.”
Transgender women are not in fact women, though a growing coalition of far-left voices — some of them full-fledged extremists — not only refuse to accept this fact but are now trying to silence anyone who dares speak the actual truth.
Conversely, it doesn’t seem like anyone is trying to silence transgender models like Sampaio. If anything, rather than being marginalized, he appears to be enjoying massive doses of media attention and adulation.
The same cannot be said of J.K. Rowling, an author who’s been smeared and vilified for simply politely arguing that men are men and women are women, which is a biological fact.
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