Model Geena Rocero is making history as the first trans-Filipino American to pose for Playboy magazine. She will be the first trans-Asian Pacific Islander to be named as a Playmate, reports Out. Rocero’s issue will be out on June 18 and its theme will be “Gender and Sexuality.” The first trans-model to grace Playboy was Caroline “Tula” Cossey who appeared in 1991. However, the first trans-Playmate was Ines Rau who was Miss October 2017.
Geena Rocero went on Instagram to share this joyous occasion. “I’m Beyond PROUD to share the news and be the first Trans Asian Pacific Islander @Playboy Playmate!” she wrote. “Growing up in a very conservative, Catholic patriarchy, I was made to feel ashamed about my relationship with my body.”
Rocero was born in Manila, Philippines, where she started to compete in beauty pageants at the age of 15. She moved to the United States when she was 17 where she pursued a modeling career. Unfortunately, for her, she had to keep her gender and sexuality a secret. As she was moving up in the modeling world, she kept her gender identity a secret because there was no other “trans” model out in the open.
“At that time, there was not an ‘out’ trans identified fashion model so I made the decision to hide my personal journey in order to survive,” she said. “After years of being a successful model, my depression and the paranoia of being ‘Outed’ grew larger every day.
“The shame that I felt about my transness limited the expression of my full self, my ideas and dreams.”
Rocero came out on March 2014 in a Ted Talk. Since then, she has been a proud activist for the trans community. She launched Gender Proud, which is an organization that raises “advocacy & awareness” to raise the “rights of all transgender individuals,” according to Wikipedia.
She hopes that her Playboy issue will help other transgender people feel normal like the transgender models that came before her. Rocero wrote, “In this constant political attack on trans lives, I am more inspired to unapologetically proclaim how proud I am of being a Trans Woman of Color and an immigrant.”