‘Big deal’; is this a momentous and consequential event or am I just being ironic? I’ve heard both in response to Giuliana Farfalla’s cover shot in German Playboy this month. Giuliana is certainly stunning; a lady with 219k of Instagram followers and well liked by her fans. She is the epitome of classical female beauty but also the subject of transphobia. Press articles and published comments are awash with praise but also disgust. The use of male pronouns by some commentators make it quite clear they consider her to be a man. If I’m being ironic, Giuliana is clearly a beautiful sexy woman but so are many other models, is it such a big deal that she’s on the cover of Playboy? What is all the fuss about?
In a way, this is a big deal. Transgender women face enormous hurdles to become accepted. Our journey to adulthood is achieved despite opposition to a persistent, consistent insistence that we’re female. Giuliana Farfalla reportedly always felt like a girl from an early age, trapped in the wrong body. I too felt trapped, imprisoned to be more precise; hostage to a midwife who took one quick peek and pronounced me male. To progress from that to become a sexy, desirable model is indeed an achievement. One you can scarcely imagine will ever happen. Growing up a trans girl, you tend to live in your head. You dream of being a princess, of being beautiful and admired, of being in love and being happy. Small wonder if Giuliana aspired to be a catwalk model and to be complimented for her beauty. I felt just the same.
That achievement comes at a price however. High profile trans women invariably become targets for transphobia, there has been much of it in the press recently. Other girls cry foul when someone they see as male wins a beauty contest. In the end, no matter how beautiful or complete a trans woman may look it is seldom sufficient to ensure their acceptance. While being on the cover of Playboy is indeed a positive step, there’s a catch. In celebrating beautiful trans women, we try to counter the myth they aren’t ‘real’ women. Giuliana is undoubtedly sexy and beautiful. Were she not to have revealed her gender status most of us would be none the wiser, yet being a woman is seldom just about beauty.
I’m an erotic model whose …