Playboy's First Trans Model Expresses Concerns About Caitlyn Jenner

Caroline “Tula” Cossey. Photo: Playboy.
Caroline “Tula” Cossey. Photo: Playboy.

Playboy creator Hugh Hefner’s been getting plenty of negative press lately, mostly in relation to former Playmate Holly Madison’s new tell-all book, Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny.

But now, someone has come forward to praise Hefner and his long-time liberal, forward-thinking attitude: Caroline “Tula” Cossey, a former Bond girl and the first transgender model to ever appear in Playboy back in 1991, and again in ‘93.

In a revealing interview with Playboy (her first in 20 years), Cossey - now 60 and married - remembers how Hefner treated her with respect and dignity in a time when the term “trans” was still widely misunderstood.

“I remember being invited to the Mansion to meet Hugh Hefner,” Cossey recalls. “He looked into my eyes and I immediately knew he felt my story. He felt my cause.”

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This was, of course, in a time long before trans people were scoring the covers of Vanity Fair and Time, and starring in major ad campaigns.

Cossey says that, after a tabloid exposed to the world that she had been born male, it was her Playboy pictorial that helped her gain acceptance in a less-than-empathetic world.

“Playboy’s readership is mostly male and heterosexual, so it allowed me to get out there and prove that people like myself can be sexy and attractive. That’s what I aimed to do at that point. I wanted to fight for the right of recognition. […] It gave people the chance to get to know me, to feel the situation and hopefully gain empathy and understanding.“

But, while she’s blown away with the overwhelming support that fellow trans woman Caitlyn Jenner has received recently, Cossey does have some concerns, saying, “I hope he’s not in a hurry to get surgery.”

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When asked why she feels that way, Cossey explained, “I’ve seen and heard so many horror stories of people going through surgery, becoming miserable and killing themselves because it was not the right step for them. And it’s a very painful surgery. I would hate for him to lose that part of his body and go through transition, especially at this stage in his life, because he’s no spring chicken. He’s in a public situation going through something so sensitive.”

“I pray [Caitlyn] gets the right counseling,” she says. “It’s not what’s between your legs at the end of the day.”