A French model named Ines Rau has become the first openly transgender person to be named a Playboy Playmate in the 64-year history of the publication.
The 26-year-old will receive the title in in the November/December 2017 issue of Playboy where she takes part in a photo-spread and opens up in an interview about her transgender identity.
“I lived a long time without saying I was transgender,” the Rau tells Playboy. “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.”
Later in the interview, the model reflects on society’s limited notions of womanhood, saying that “Being a woman doesn’t mean being extremely feminine all the time. Being a woman is just being a woman.”
Playmate is a title given to select women who appear in the centerfold pictorial in each issue of Playboy magazine.
Rau previously appeared in Playboy magazine in 2014, though not as a Playmate.
Other transgender individuals have appeared in the pages of Playboy before, though not as an official Playmate.
Caroline Cossey, a transgender model who lost everything after being outed in the ’80s, told HuffPost last month that she found work and acceptance in Playboy and founder Hugh Hefner at a time when no one else would book her.
“The worldwide reach of the photos and feature had significant impact in changing erroneous preconceived ideas that a lot of people had about the trans community,” Cossey said. “I featured on Playboy magazine covers worldwide and the impact was huge on our acceptance ― I thank Hugh for that.”
Hefner died earlier this year on Sept. 27.