Leyna Bloom on the Lack of Trans Women of Colour at the Met Gala: “We Deserve To Be Seen”
Leyna Bloom at the 2021 Met Gala. Image Source: Taylor Hill / WireImage
When model and actress Leyna Bloom attended the Met Gala in 2021, she wasn’t the only trans woman of color to shine during fashion’s biggest night – “Pose” stars Janet Mock and Indya Moore celebrated the moment alongside her. It was a big year in terms of trans representation; Elliot Page also walked his first carpet since coming out as trans.
“These are spaces that hold so much power in terms of representation,” Bloom tells POPSUGAR. “We have been here and we deserve to be seen in these spaces, to showcase our self-expression, our imagination, and our freedom.”
“We deserve to be seen in these spaces.”
While there were folks of color who identify as queer walking the carpet on Monday – Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, Janelle Monáe – Bloom saw the omission of trans women of color as particularly glaring in a year that has seen unprecedented anti-trans legislation and violence. Trans women of color face some of the highest rates of violence within the queer community, per the Human Rights Campaign.
“We are literally being murdered,” Bloom says. “There are more of us in body bags than there are at the Met Gala, at the Golden Globes, at the Emmys.”
At the event, Dwyane Wade – whose daughter, Zaya Wade, came out as trans in 2020 – brought attention to trans issues as he walked alongside his wife, Gabrielle Union. He spoke about the high rates of suicide in the trans community and the importance of acceptance. “Let’s make sure our kids have an opportunity to live this life that we all get to live,” he told a Variety reporter.
This year’s Met Gala didn’t come without other controversies. Many criticized the event for honoring the late fashion designer and creative director Karl Lagerfeld, who throughout his life made derogatory comments against immigrants, fat people, and sexual-assault survivors, among others. On May 2, Jameela Jamil called out those who supported the event in any capacity, given Lagerfeld’s history. (Vogue did not immediately respond to POPSUGAR’s request for comment.)
Bloom – who has made history many times over, notably as the first trans woman of color to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swim issue – plans to hold an Instagram Live on Friday at 6 p.m. ET to create more space for trans and nonbinary folks to talk through the event and what representation means to them.
“When you really think of our queer, trans, nonbinary culture, you see this life force, this sacred energy that brings people together and does not separate people. And when you have that alongside our cisgender brothers and sisters, it allows us to be visible – in the same photos, in the same conversations, on the same red carpets, in clothes designed by the same designers,” she says. “That’s why it’s so important.”
And in the meantime, Bloom is imagining a future in which the Met Gala looks a little different. “It should be a space for all forms of imagination from all walks of life,” she adds. “That means it includes everyone who can dream and everyone that helps people with their dreams.”