Playboy responded to backlash against its first transgender Playmate with a series of tweets comparing recent social media reactions to reader letters about its first black Playmate in 1965.
The adult entertainment magazine made history last week when it announced Ines Rau would become the first openly transgender person to be named a Playmate. The move drew criticism from some users on social media, and, perhaps most notably, former porn star and Playboy cover model Jenna Jameson.
“I have a problem with it just like I have a problem with a transgender competing against biological women in sports,” she tweeted Thursday. “I think it’s setting fire to an iconic brand and pandering to this ridiculous PC world we live in.”
Jameson went on to claim that she is not transphobic ― though Twitter activity from the star seems to indicate otherwise.
Playboy responded to the backlash with a series of powerful tweets on Thursday.
Caroline Cossey, the first openly transgender woman to appear between the covers of Playboy, made a similar argument when speaking to HuffPost after the death of Hugh Hefner, noting that Hefner’s decision to feature her helped change cultural perceptions of trans people in the 1980s.
“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 told HuffPost. “I featured on Playboy magazine covers worldwide and the impact was huge on our acceptance ― I thank Hugh for that.”
Rau will appear in the November/December issue of Playboy, which will feature Hefner on the cover.