Cossey recalls Hef stepping in to ensure that she pose for Playboy even after she was outed as trans, a pretty bold move 20+ years ago.
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Via Huff Post: Caroline Cossey, a successful model, was outed “as a man” (as they said back in the early '80s when it happened), threatening her livelihood. A trans woman who had undergone SRS, she took her case to the courts in Europe to have her birth certificate changed, working hard as an activist even as her career was nosediving.
She recalls for Huffington Post that Hef had offered her a shoot in Playboy, but then had caved when a major advertiser (which one?) threatened to pull millions in ad dollars.
A year later, Hef met with Cossey in person and decided to go ahead and publish the story worldwide.
Playboy, a magazine showcasing nude, beautiful, sexy women was an incredible platform to show trans people are no different. Understand this was all prior to the internet. There is so much ignorance in the world today regarding trans people. It was one thousand times worse back then. There’s just no comparison. 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. I featured on Playboy magazine covers worldwide and the impact was huge on our acceptance ― I thank Hugh for that.
I'm sure some of Hefner's motivation was the novelty aspect (the cover line, see below, kinda reveals that), but Cossey's take on his humanity in the face of some of the really dismissive and damning things being said about the mogul in the wake of his death at 91 is interesting.