Controversy Rages Over ‘Playboy’ Transgender Playmate

Playboy is relishing the controversy its generating from its newest issue, which features its first-ever transgender Playmate. In an industry that has been battling slumping sales for years, and in a magazine some thought would have went completely online by now, Playboy hopes to cash in with the publicity the move is generating.

But the cost/benefit analysis is unclear. Right now, social media users seem to be split over the nearly 64 year old magazine’s decision to roll with a transgender woman in its centerfold section.

Some social media users are displeased that Playboy chose to equate its choice in 1965 to feature a Black woman as a Playmate–then a first–with its choice to run Ines Rau as its first transgender Playmate.

Some accuse Playboy of equating transgender activism to Black people’s struggle for equality, which they reject:

Playboy says it has received threats from readers who promise to no longer support the magazine over Rau’s appearance.

But the magazine says its not bothered because its “Standing on the right side of history”.

Jennifer Jackson was chosen as the magazine’s first-ever Black Playmate and she appeared in the March 1965 issue of the magazine–at the height of the Civil rights struggle–and in the very same month as the March To Selma, also known as “Bloody Sunday”.

Playboy has run transgender women in its pages before. But Rau will be the magazine’s first centerfold model.

Also, magazine founder Hugh Hefner was a gay rights supporter who was upfront about having had gay sexual relationships himself. Hefner passed away last month at the age of 91.

Its unclear what will be the end result of this situation. But most of the people who are forcefully speaking out either for or against Rau appearing as a centerfold probably don’t read Playboy regularly anyway, let alone have subscriptions.