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Playboy will feature its first transgender Playmate of the Month

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Ines Rau has made Playboy history by becoming the first transgender model to be featured as a centerfold playmate.

The 26-year-old French model is the November Playmate of the Month. She was featured in the magazine before, but the "Playmate" title is reserved for those that are featured in the centerfold shoot. Cooper Hefner, the magazine's chief creative officer, told the New York Times that featuring Rau follows the magazine's tradition of changing attitudes toward sex.

Rau's feature comes just after the death of Playboy's founder, Hugh Hefner, in September.

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"This is really a moment for us to take a step back and say that so much of what the brand stood for in the early years is very much still alive in culture," said the younger Hefner.

Rau has been featured in several other magazines, including the American and Italian editions of Vogue, and a Balmain campaign, but this one was particularly special.

"It was a compliment like I never had," Rau told the Times. "I've had a lot of beautiful compliments from gentlemen before but this one really made me feel very special, beautiful and feminine. I was speechless."

That said, the decision was not without controversy.

"I've seen a lot of hateful comments," said Rau. "I would have never thought about people being so transphobic. I knew we still had a lot of work to do to get to a point where people see trans women as women, but I would have never thought that."

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Rau has been featured in Playboy before, but not as a centerfold. It is also not the first time a transgender model has been featured in the magazine. British model Caroline (Tula) Cossey appeared in a picture for the magazine in 1981 alongside "Bond girls" for the film "For Your Eyes Only." She later was shown in a solo pictorial in 1991. Playboy has made other notable firsts which have drawn controversy, including featuring Jennifer Jackson, a black woman, as its Playmate of the Month in March 1965.

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