Playboy makes history with its transgender Playmate – French model Ines Rau
Playboy has made history this month by featuring its first-ever transgender Playmate.
The November 2017 Playmate is Ines Rau, well known as a fashion model with past credits including Balmain and shoots for Vogue Italia.
It’s not the first time Rau has posed in a Playboy publication.
She was photographed fully nude by Ryan McGinley for the Playboy A-Z special edition that came with the May 2014 issue of the magazine.
“It’s how I celebrated my coming out, actually,” Rau said of that photoshoot, which was featured alongside a discussion about gender identity.
“I took that chance, and then I signed with an agency.”
She added to the magazine: “I lived a long time without saying I was transgender. I dated a lot and almost forgot. I was scared of never finding a boyfriend and being seen as weird.
“Then I was like, You know, you should just be who you are. 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.”
While being seen as a totem of hypermasculinity, Playboy has always a more considered approach to LGBT issues than many may have thought.
Its founder Hugh Hefner, who died earlier this year at the age of 91, was an outspoken supporter of civil rights, including gay rights.
While Rau is the first Playmate centrefold to be featured in the magazine, she isn’t the first transgender model to have posed in the publication.
The first was Caroline ‘Tula’ Cossey, a Page Three girl who appeared in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.
Cossey was outed as trans by the News of the World after the Bond film came out with the front-page headline “James Bond Girl Was a Boy”.
She later revealed that she had considered taking her own life after she was outed.
She posed for a Playboy pictorial in 1991 titled The Transformation of Tula that acknowledged transsexual status.
“I wanted to do it because I wanted to show all the jocks and heterosexual Playboy readers that transgender people could be sexy and attractive and help them lose the preconceived notions they had about us,” she said.