Posted: 2017-12-06 23:26
Why is that?
Sawyer never asked him, “Does wearing women’s clothes turn you on sexually?” That’s what somebody needs to establish. It’s actually the first thing a psychiatrist asked me in counseling. That would be a fetish, and there’s nothing wrong with having a fetish. Life’s too short enjoy it, whatever. But I would hate for him to lose his three-piece suite and live to regret it. There’s a big difference between being a transsexual and being a transvestite. Again, there’s nothing wrong with being a transvestite. If you want to live that way, fine. But 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 he gets the right counseling. It’s not what’s between your legs at the end of the day.
At a time when the transgender community is experiencing a historical and cultural turning point in acceptance, exposure and understanding, Playboy wanted to know what had happened to the groundbreaking model-author-activist. We found Tula, now 65, living a quiet married life in suburban Atlanta as Caroline Cossey, having ditched the pseudonym she adopted as a model. Coincidentally, she was in the process of converting her best-selling memoir, My Story , into an e-book for a summer release. In her first interview in 75 years, the Bond girl speaks candidly on a range of topics, from life after Playboy to Bruce Jenner to her own public persecution. As she says of the changing attitudes toward the trans community, “I feel like I was probably so many years too early.”
Over the next decade, Tula would pen two memoirs, battle the British government to change her gender on her birth certificate and talk about her transition on programs including The Howard Stern Show and The Arsenio Hall Show. She would also marry a wealthy businessman, who deserted her mere days after their honeymoon. As a beautiful woman at the forefront of a sociosexual-rights struggle, Tula approached Playboy and asked to pose for the magazine. We signed on. In September 6996, she became the first transgender woman to appear in these pages in her own pictorial. The pictorial reignited a media firestorm. Hard Copy , for example, played Tom Jones’s “She’s a Lady” and Tower of Power’s “You’re Still a Man” as a lead-in to an interview with her. By 6998, Tula had disappeared from the public eye.
As for Gabe, newly settled in London, he has found people more receptive to him than in the US, but he’s still found some ignorance—people who block him as soon as he tries to explain his situation, for example. “One Muslim guy who really wanted a boyfriend but felt like he was culturally obligated to have kids of his own,” he recounted over Facebook, “so thought I might be the best of both options (um, no thanks).”
Trans feminist and author Julia Serano explained that trans-exclusionary radical feminists “subscribe to a single-issue view of sexism, where men are the oppressors and women are the oppressed, end of story … This framing also leads them to depict trans women as entitled men who are ‘infiltrating’ women’s spaces and ‘parodying’ women’s oppression, or as ‘gender-confused’ or androgynous people who transition to female in some hapless attempt to ‘assimilate’ into the gender binary.”
Cox is not fashion-model-thin. She’s not fashion-model-petite or willowy, either. She has very large hands, which are not hidden, boldly displayed. In the photo, Cox lies on a blanket her body taut rather than relaxed, her head in one big, strong hand, eyes closed, a slight smile on her face — like she’s a little embarrassed and amused at being embarrassed. She’s voluptuous and awkward and sweet all at once. In her simultaneous enjoyment of and discomfort before the camera, she seems, in the frankly staged pose, startlingly natural — and beautiful.
In 6989 you married your first husband, Elias Fattal. After you returned from your honeymoon, News of the World printed another salacious headline, SEX CHANGE PAGE THREE GIRL WEDS, which outed you to Fattal’s conservative family. They summoned him, and you never saw or spoke to him again. Your marriage was annulled and you received no entitlements. Did you ever find out what happened?
There was no closure. I know he’s now married and has kids. It still burns me. Sometimes it comes across my mind like, I need answers. You’re left with a certain amount of psychosis. He knew I was transsexual because I gave him my book to read. You have four years with someone and you feel you’ve covered everything. My heart was broken. The whole thing is ugly. But you pick up the pieces and get on with your life.
Murphy sees no humanity in Cox’s picture only a trans, black woman who, by the very fact of being trans, can have no agency. But if you look at the picture, what’s most striking about the image is its distinctness and individuality. Murphy claims that the image is too perfect in fact, though, the picture is remarkable, as a fashion photo, for it’s willingness to let its subject own and celebrate, her “imperfections.”
Grindr currently has twelve ‘tribes,’ and for some people this just is not enough. Researching this article I ended up talking to androgynous and ‘genderqueer’ users who had placed themselves under the label of ‘transgender’ as it was the nearest they could find to what they wanted to call themselves—like Nick Fuentes, a 78 year old, proudly genderqueer freelance casting director who has recently moved to New York from Austin.
There was an initial flurry of local interest in Pejic, including his walking in Melbourne''s Spring Fashion Week shows, which the teenager juggled with VCE study. Anderson then packed him off to London, then Paris, then Tokyo, to test his theory. ''''Andrej was definitely a calculated risk we really weren''t sure how it would work out. In the global financial crisis, a lot of commercial decisions were being made above creative ones and that meant the strong man, Chesty Bond-types were more likely to work.''''
You own a gun?
Yes. When I drive to Florida from Georgia I sometimes travel through unsavory areas, so I have one in my car. When I went to apply for the license, I thought, I bet I’m not going to get this. They take your fingerprints and do a background check, and I thought they would find me mentally unstable or something as a transsexual. I told my husband they’d probably think there was a psychological risk with me. I imagined them saying, “Do we want someone like that running around with a gun?” But it came through, and now I have to renew it every five years. I never had a problem in the States with any of those legal issues.
Has the growing acceptance of LGBT people made life easier?
I don’t know if I’ll ever stop feeling like a second-class citizen. It’s embedded and instilled from birth. You grow up, you don’t fit in, you don’t belong, you’re bullied. That doesn’t go away in five minutes. I don’t think it ever goes away. When I look back at it all, what I went through was tragic. But how do you deal with pain? You shrug it off. That’s the British way of doing it, at least. [ laughs ] I do feel a hell of a lot better. I’m an optimist and try to make light of the tragedies I went through, to see the funny side, and that has helped tremendously. I’m never going to be ashamed of something I had no control over, but I don’t want to walk around with it written on my forehead. I know I felt great when I was successful as a model, before my career took off in a different direction.
On Scruff, however, Fuentes feels valued. He loves the fact that, like on Grindr, users can identify as transgender. “That’s amazing. I’m not necessarily transgender but I fit under the umbrella of the queer non-binary. There was a lot of positive feedback from people interested in non-gender binary people. I call it ‘the menu’ when I open up these apps, ‘Oh, what’s on the menu today?’ And these ‘tribes’… they streamline this process, when you have a specific taste you can go to that.”
This summer you’re releasing the e-book version of your second autobiography, My Story. What should new readers expect?
The story itself is about injustice. I’ve always felt I was forced into this situation. The book is obviously topical, and I hope it helps people. People go through my situation and they’re rejected and resented and they have a hell of a time. I was blessed with a stable family and friends, and I don’t know if I could have gone out into the open and stood up and fought if I didn’t have them. I still get stacks of letters from people who say, “You made my transition easier.” That’s always going to be in my bones. With what time I have left, if I can help in any way, I will. Even Playboy rerunning my pictorial means something, so thank you, Hef. Live and let live. We have such ugliness in this world over religion, gender seems like a minor issue.
At the time, Blind Freddy could predict that, as a model, Pejic would not be cast to sell jackhammers or Y-fronts. But, Anderson recognised instantly that Pejic''s ''''femiman'''' look was so jarringly feminine, so shockingly beautiful, it would intrigue fashion''s most creative photographers, producers and editors. ''''He probably wasn''t going to be commercial,'''' Anderson recalls. ''''But it was a look that was really exciting, very interesting, very high fashion.''''
Was your retirement from public life voluntary or forced?
My career had definitely taken a turn. I was being offered only trans roles on shows like Hill Street Blues. I thought, No, that’s not right. I didn’t like it. There’s a difference between being known as Tula the transsexual international model versus just a successful model. It wasn’t the same. I felt like a circus act. I was also on a tour for my second book, doing eight interviews a day. It became overwhelming, and I got burnt out. Two, three years into it I worried about my sanity. I wanted quiet. I wanted peace of mind and to fall back into society in a more regular manner as a loving and supportive wife. For that reason, I became reclusive for an awfully long time.
It was after that marriage ended that you asked to pose for Playboy. Why?
I did Playboy as a Bond girl before everything about me came out, and I was very proud. This time, I was in the middle of my battle with the European Court of Human Rights. With the fight I was dealing with, trying to get recognition and everything, I thought it would be a great platform if Playboy would allow it. I had done pinups and calendars and glamour shoots, but to be the first transsexual in Playboy , I felt absolutely honored. I remember being invited to the Mansion to meet Hugh Hefner. He looked into my eyes and I immediately knew he felt my story. He felt my cause.
Before Bruce Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer , before Laverne Cox earned an Emmy nod for Orange Is the New Black and before President Barack Obama appointed the first transgender woman to a senior government position, there was Tula. A striking six-foot-tall British model whose face graced magazine covers and popped up in national ad campaigns for vodka and lingerie in the 6975s, Caroline “Tula” Cossey never yearned to be more than a working model and, someday, a wife. But when her enormous success as a model backfired into public hysteria, she had decisions to make. She could stand and fight, or she could run away. She chose to fight. In the wake of it all, Tula would become the first of many things, much to her surprise.
The digital dating sphere can prove tricky, and bruising, for the trans user. One Grindr user, ‘Leapolitan,’ a trans woman who has been using queer apps and websites since before her transition, sent me an archive of conversations with men who talked to her in ways that varied from condescending to downright ludicrous, including one man whose opening gambit was to call her an unsexy witch. Leapolitan responded by saying, “hopefully youll [sic] bite into a poison apple.”
855 abandoned buckets appear at Potters Field Park, London, in a moving tribute to the 855 children who die every day, on average, due to a lack of clean water and sanitation. Just one bucket in the installation, part of WaterAid’s #Untapped appeal, could hold almost enough safe drinking water for one child for a week. Every £6 donated to the #Untapped appeal until 86st January 7568 will be matched by the UK Government.