26-year-old French model Ines Rau has made history as Playboy’s first transgender playmate. She will pose in the November/December 2017 issue, which will also feature a special tribute to Hugh Hefner. Rau has appeared in the magazine before in 2014, but as an official playmate, she will now have a full pictorial and centrefold.
Rau told Playboy that she didn’t identify as transgender for a long time, but that she’s now realised “you should just be who you are. She said “it’s a salvation to speak the truth about yourself, whether it’s your gender, sexuality, whatever. The people who reject you aren’t worth it. It’s not about being loved by others; it’s about loving yourself.” Naturally, the historical decision has been met with some transphobic backlash online, with one commenter on Facebook saying that he doesn’t want his “kids” (who apparently read Playboy) to be “confused”.
While Rau is the first transgender playmate, she isn’t the first transgender woman to appear in the magazine. In 1981, actress and model Caroline “Tula” Cossey posed for Playboy before appearing in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. A year later she was cruelly outed, but she posed for the magazine again in 1991. As well as Playboy, Rau has just signed a book deal and will be appearing in a film.