Glamour magazine has named a male-born transgender model as one of its 2023 Women of the Year awardees.
The magazine named Philippines model Geena Rocero as one of its seven women of the year picks in its November 1 announcement.
In its retrospective of Rocero’s career, it is revealed that the Filipino model got started when an adult drag queen groomed a then 15-year-old Rocero for a stage career.
Drag performer Tigerlily Garcia Temporosa, who is described as a “mentor and community mother,” praised Rocero as a “rising star” as a young teen.
“At 15 years old she took the highest titles here in the national pageant,” Temporosa enthused. “I [was] so proud and so happy. A lot of good transgender [competitors] wanted me to handle them, at that time, with Geena rising as a promising star.”
Drag performances have been openly accepted in the Philippines for far longer than they have in the U.S. However, transgender people are not given the same level of civil rights there as they are here in the states, Glamour adds. And when Rocero moved to the U.S., things changed for the model quite quickly, the magazine explained.
“From her beginnings as a pageant queen in her native Philippines to becoming a celebrated model, author, transgender rights advocate, and film producer, Rocero is using her voice to fight for the rights of the voiceless,” the magazine insisted.
Rocero, though, did not compete in only drag queen pageants in the Philippines. Rocero also competed in contests specifically for gay men. And in 2000, Rocero won the “Ms. Gay Universe” pageant. It was after that victory that Rocero moved to the U.S. and started a modeling career without telling employers he was a male. That changed 14 years later when Rocero decided to come out after undergoing full gender surgery.
Glamour is far from the first media outlet to name a biological man as a woman of the year awardee or otherwise celebrate male-born trans models and personalities.
Last year, newspaper USA Today declared transgender Biden administration official Rachel Levine as its woman of the year. Sports Illustrated has included trans people as cover models and swim suit edition models repeatedly. In 2015, the Guardian named a “non-binary” columnist as its “Woman of the Future.” And Glamour even indulged trans models in the past when in 2021 the magazine awarded transgender model and activist Munroe Berdorf as a “gamechanging influencer.”
Glamour’s other 2023 awardees include hip-hop artist Mary J. Blige, actress and former model Brooke Shields, actress and writer Quinta Brunson, and actresses America Ferrera, Millie Bobby Brown, and Selma Blair. The latter was also given the magazine’s “Daring to Disrupt Award.”
The magazine’s Women of the Year Red Carpet event will take place November 7th, hosted by The Real Housewives of New York’s Ubah Hassan and Brynn Whitfield.