Transgender supermodel and advocate Geena Rocero is smashing stereotypes and making history in the latest issue of Playboy.
The 35-year-old Filipino-born model is the first transgender Asian Pacific Islander Playboy Playmate.
Playboy featured Rocero in its Gender and Sexuality issue out today (18 June) as the August 2019 Playmate.
‘As the first Trans Asian Pacific Islander Playmate,’ she said. ‘I feel that I’m making it possible for someone to reach for their biggest dreams just like the people who came before me.’
She then added: ‘I also hope that for anyone who’s been deemed ‘other’ to know that what makes you different, is your power, especially the unapologetic expression of your sexuality, gender and the value of your unique perspective.’
Geena Rocero: A coming out story
Geena Rocero grew up in the Philippines and started competing in transgender beauty pageants at the age of 15. She moved to San Francisco at the age of 17, but went to Thailand at the age of 19 for gender confirmation surgery.
She then began modeling at the age of 21 and later moved to New York City.
‘When I started modeling, I began to realize the power in loving my body,’ she wrote in the latest Playboy issue. ‘I was doing a lot of lingerie and swimsuit editorials, projecting an image of a powerful woman in touch with her sexuality.’
But she wasn’t living openly as a transgender woman.
‘The bigger the job, the bigger the paranoia that I would be outed,’ she revealed. ‘The stress of living this double life actually caused me to break out with eczema.’
So Rocera decided to do something about it and come out in a now-viral TED Talk in 2014.
She also launched an advocacy platform called Gender Proud, allowing her to travel the world to advocate for transgender rights.
‘For so long, we trans people have not been in charge of our own stories,’ she said. ‘Our representation has been predicated on the idea that we’re not the people we are.’
She then added: ‘Obviously, this is who we are. This is our lived experience. It’s not up for debate.’
In the latest issue, Geena Rocero discusses transgender role models, her hidden talents and feminism.
You can read Geena’s full feature in the Gender and Sexuality issue of PLAYBOY that hits news stands today.