Tuesday 24 October 2017

Playboy's first transgender model praises magazine for forward thinking attitude in the '80s

Caroline Cossey ( Tula) The Transexual (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

The first transgender model to appear in the pages of Playboy has praised the magazine for giving her a voice.

Caroline "Tula" Cossey appeared in the pages of the magazine in the early 1980s for her role as a Bond girl in For Your Eyes Only. Although she featured alongside a number of other actresses, she was later singled out as a transgender.

News of The World 'outed' Cossey and a media storm soon surrounded her.

But the former model, who now lives in Georgia, praised the publication for its forward thinking editorial stance and she even appeared in Playboy once again in 1991. And her pictures are now being re-published with an catch-up interview.

Read more: 9 of the most shocking things Holly Madison said about life at the Playboy Mansion

"I remember being invited to the Mansion to meet Hugh Hefner," she told the magazine, adding that the increase in her profile landed her regular gigs on talk shows to raise awareness. "He looked into my eyes and I immediately knew he felt my story. He felt my cause.

"It wasn't just a 10- or 15-minute segment; it was an entire hour. And it gave people the chance to get to know me, to feel the situation and hopefully gain empathy and understanding. That was my goal, and Playboy was a great platform for that."

"Thank you Hef."

Caroline Cossey ( Tula) The Transexual (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Caroline Cossey ( Tula) The Transexual (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

The now 60-year-old looks back fondly on her Playboy days, but not the negative publicity that followed namely from UK tabloids. She featured as a Page Thee girl in The Sun and later nabbed spreads in Harper's Bazaar.

Cossey wed Elias Fattal in 1989 and the NOTW led with the headline 'Sex change page three girl weds,' which reportedly caused a furore as her husband's family was unaware of her gender transition.

It was only in 2004 that she was legally allowed to change her gender on her passport as part of the Gender Recognition Act.

She went on to praise transgender actress Laverne Cox, who stars on Orange is The New Black, but sass society still has a way to go.

"I don't know if I'll if I'll ever stop feeling like a second-class citizen. It's embedded and instilled from birth," she added.

 "You grow up, you don't fit in, you don't belong, you're bullied. That doesn't go away in five minutes. I don't think it ever goes away."

Online Editors

Also in this section