Playboy to feature first transgender Playmate

The late Hugh Hefner broke ground with Playboy, and now the first issue of the magazine since his recent death is doing the same.

The November/December issue features the men magazine’s first openly transgender Playmate.

French model Ines Rau appears in a spread and the centerfold.

It’s her second appearance in the publication. Rau was featured in a special section of the May 2014 issue where she was photographed fully nude by Ryan McGinley for a spread titled “Evolution.”

“It’s how I celebrated my coming out, actually,” Rau said in the story accompanying her new photo spread. “I took that chance, and then I signed with an agency.”

The model is well-known among those who follow fashion since she has appeared on runways, in a Balmain campaign and in Vogue as well as other publications.

There has been some backlash against featuring Rau, which Playboy has tried to counteract on social media, noting that transgender model Tula posed for the magazine in September 1991 and that the first black Playmate, Jennifer Jackson, faced resistance in 1965.

Playboy tweeted an image of Rau writing, “Standing on the right side of history.”

Cooper Hefner, Hugh’s son and an executive at the magazine, also tweeted a defense of the spread.

“We should collectively be fighting for a more open world, not one that promotes hatred and a lack of acceptance,” he wrote.

Rau was reportedly set to be the issue’s cover girl, but with the September 27 death of Hugh Hefner a portrait of the magazine’s founder made the cover instead.