She's making history.
Ines Rau just became the first transgender playmate to be featured in the latest issue of Playboy, which, according to reports, is a first in the magazine's 64-year history.
Rau, 26, has a full pictorial spread and centrefold in the November/December 2017 issue, the first issue to be published since the death of the magazine's founder, Hugh Hefner. Hefner died on Sept. 27, 2017, at the age of 91.
Rau has been shot for the magazine before, having appeared in Playboy's May 2014 issue, which, according to The Indpependent, "championed a more progressive understanding of gender as non-binary."
However, Rau reveals in her interview with the magazine that she didn't identify as transgender for a long time for fear of never finding a partner or being perceived as "weird."
It's not about being loved by others; it's about loving yourself.
"I dated a lot and almost forgot. I was scared of never finding a boyfriend and being seen as weird," she confesses. "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."
Althouh Rau is the first transgender playmate, she's not the first transgender model to appear in the pages of the mag.
Bond girl Caroline "Tula" Cossey was the first transgender model to pose for Playboy in 1981, although at the time she wasn't out. One year later, a tabloid revealed her secret, and in 1991, she again posed nude for the magazine.
"I feel like I was probably so many years too early," Cossey told Playboy in 2015 on the changing attitudes towards the transgender community.
"I thought it would be a great platform if Playboy would allow it," Cossey said on her fight for trans people to get recognition. "I had done pinups and calendars and glamour shoots, but to be the first transsexual in Playboy, I felt absolutely honoured. I remember being invited to the Mansion to meet Hugh Hefner. He looked into my eyes and I immediately knew he felt my story. He felt my cause."
And for the people who still question her womanhood, Rau has a message for them: "People have said that being transgender goes against the laws of nature, but they're the same people who aren't doing anything to help nature. If I want to get a sex change, it's between myself and my body. I could hide it, but I don't, because I respect people."
If I want to get a sex change, it's between myself and my body.
She adds: "Being a woman doesn't mean being extremely feminine all the time. Being a woman is just being a woman."
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