The November issue of Playboy will be the first published since Hugh Hefner's death in September, but it's getting attention for an entirely different first: the magazine's first transgender playmate, USA Today reports. Ines Rau, 26, will appear nude as the November issue's centerfold. The French model told the New York Times that being named a Playboy playmate "was a compliment like I've never had." She says she "cried of happiness" posing for the magazine while "thinking of being this little lonely boy in the ghetto." Cooper Hefner says featuring a transgender playmate "very much speaks to the brand's philosophy," calling it "the right thing to do." "So much of what the brand stood for in the early years is very much still alive," the son of Hugh Hefner says.
The online reaction to Rau being made a playmate has been mixed at best. She says she was caught off guard by some of the transphobic comments the news has gotten, with some people claiming Hugh Hefner would never have allowed a transgender model in the magazine. That's wrong on a number of counts. "Bond girl" Caroline Cossey posed nude for Playboy in 1991, becoming the magazine's first transgender model. And Rau actually posed nude in the magazine in 2014 before now becoming its first transgender playmate (there is just one playmate per issue, featured in the centerfold). She tells Reuters that Hugh Hefner chose her for the honor himself, telling her "he was very proud of me." Meanwhile, Playboy is comparing the negative reactions to Rau to the negative response it received in 1965 after featuring its first black playmate. (Read more Playboy stories.)