UPDATE: Hey, remember Jenna Jameson? Now that she's been gone from porn for six years, she's got an opinion on Playboy's decision, which she expressed in a series of tweets.
"So @playboy just announced it will be featuring its first transgender playmate...," she wrote. "I have a problem with it just like I have a problem with a transgender competing against biological women in sports... And women and men are two different things."
Almost needless to say, Jameson caught some shit for her remarks, prompting her to return to Twitter with, "Just because I don't agree with a trans person being in Playboy doesn’t mean I'm 'transphobic'. People these days with all their 'phobics'... I think it's setting fire to an iconic brand and pandering to this ridiculous PC world we live in."
Yeah, she's not transphobic in any way!
LOS ANGELES—For many years, Playboy magazine was considered the ultimate destination if someone were looking for classy nudes. First hitting the streets in December 1953, and featuring the centerfold who's still considered the ultimate "Playmate," Marilyn Monroe, the magazine (and website and channel) are still popular destinations for non-hardcore adult content, and several famous mainstream personalities have chosen Playboy as the place to first reveal what's under their clothing.
But one genre of nude has generally been considered off-limits by the magazine's editors: the transgender woman. Playboy has only previously published one pictorial with a trans lady: Caroline "Tula" Cossey. Cossey was a part of a Playboy photo set promoting the release of the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, and it's unclear if Playboy's editors knew then that Cossey was trans—but shortly after that issue's publication, Cossey was outed by the tabloid News of the World with the front-page headline "James Bond Girl Was a Boy." That was in 1981, and it still took Playboy another ten years to give the beautiful Cossey her place in the sun.
But now, 26 years later, Playboy appears to be ready to feature another lovely trans woman. Ines Rau, a well-known fashion model with credits including shoots for Vogue Italia and the French fashion company Balmain, has been announced as the Playmate of the Month for the magazine's November/December issue.
"Photographed by Derek Kettela, the 26-year-old model dons a white bra and matching lace panties for the spread—posing (with white socks and sneakers) in front of a bright red background," reports Dave Quinn of People magazine.
"When I was doing this shoot, I was thinking of all those hard days in my childhood," Rau said in the interview accompanying the pictorial. "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."
Actually, this isn't the first time Rau has appeared in Playboy. Back in 2014, in the May "A-Z Issue," Rau was part of a spread titled "Evolution" that discussed mainstream society's baby steps toward accepting gender identities beyond the simple binary of "man" and "woman."
But that pictorial was a major turning point for Rau.
"It’s how I celebrated my coming out, actually," Rau said at the time. "I took that chance, and then I signed with an agency ... I lived a long time without saying I was transgender ... 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."
Rau's appearance, however long it took to happen, is in line with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's philosophy as a supporter of civil rights in general, and LGBT rights in particular. Too bad he had to die before the magazine put that philosophy into practice, at least as regards the "T" part of LGBT.
"Playboy, a brand long in decline, is like many other mainstream adult entertainment outlets which have marginalized and made trans people a joke subject for decades and are now jumping on a bandwagon in an attempt to seem current and accepting," scoffed Steve Grooby, founder of the trans-based Grooby Network. "Although I support anything that puts trans people more in the mainstream eye, I don't see this as anything more than creating a buzz for their marketing purposes. I believe it's rather transparent."
But with the trans barrier now broken, can readers expect more trans Playmates from the venerable publication? After all, Rau is hardly the only gorgeous trans woman out there. We're guessing that only time will tell.
Playboy's November/December 2017 issue is now available for download at Playboy.com and will be on newsstands nationwide on October 31.