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Valentina Sampaio becomes 1st trans woman to be featured on Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

A young Brazillian model made history on Friday after it was announced that she would be featured on Sports Illustrated.

Valentina Sampaio, a 23-year-old from Aquiraz, Brazil, is officially the first-ever trans woman to grace the company's swimsuit issue. Sampaio explained that she felt "strong" after learning the news, and is inspired to continue fighting for everyone the rookie represents.

"I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue," wrote Sampaio. "The team at SI has created yet another groundbreaking issue by bringing together a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way."

I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The team at SI has created yet another groundbreaking issue by bringing together a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way. I was born trans in a remote, humble fishing village in northern Brazil. Brazil is a beautiful country, but it also hosts the highest number of violent crimes and murders against the trans community in the world—three times that of the U.S. Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds. We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing. 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. 💜🧡💛❤️💚

A post shared by Valentina Sampaio (@valentts) on

"I was born trans in a remote, humble fishing village in northern Brazil. Brazil is a beautiful country, but it also hosts the highest number of violent crimes and murders against the trans community in the world—three times that of the U.S."

Sampaio mentioned facing many challenges being trans growing up. She hopes her story will help others break through closed doors and realize who they are.

"Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds. We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing. 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."

For more on the model's journey, click here.



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