You probably don't equate Playboy magazine with gender equality, but the magazine is making an effort to rebrand itself and be more inclusive of all gender identities. The first step? Featuring French model Ines Rau as the first transgender Playmate ever in Playboy magazine.
Featured in the November issue and photographed by Derek Kettela, this isn’t the first time Rau has posed for the magazine, but it is her first time as the centerfold. She also posed in a May 2014 issue. “It’s how I celebrated my coming out, actually,” she told the magazine. “I took that chance, and then I signed with an agency.”
“When I was doing this shoot, I was thinking of all those hard days in my childhood,” she said in Playboy. “And now everything happening gives me so much joy and happiness. I thought, am I really going to be a Playmate — me? It’s the most beautiful compliment I’ve ever received. It’s like getting a giant bouquet of roses.”
Playboy has featured other transgender models in the past. Brazilian model Roberta Close posed for the Brazilian edition of the magazine 1984. And in 1981, Caroline "Tula" Cossey, a transgender English model, modeled for the magazine's James Bond pictorial, "For Your Eyes Only".
Playboy still has a long way to go in terms of empowering women, but we could not be happier to see transgender women being celebrated in the mainstream media.