Rachel Sanoff
September 20, 2016 6:21 pm
geenarocero/Instagram/therealtracyafrica/Instagram

Legendary fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar has been published for over a century — but two trans women models just helped it progress more than ever before.

Geena Rocero and Tracey Africa are the first trans women to be featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.

The models are part of the “Nine Wonders of the World” photo series for Harper’s Bazaar India — landing individual covers along with other models like Tyra Banks and Soo Joo Park.

You may recognize Tracey from Laverne Cox’s recent tribute in Cosmo. Tracey was the face of Clairol and on the cover of high fashion magazines in the 1970s, until she was outed as a trans woman and faced brutal discrimination.

It’s important to remember that trans women have landed on fashion magazine covers for years (The New Yorker mentions the gorgeous April Ashley and Caroline Cossey) — but they had to keep their identities secret in order to achieve success. Tracey is a perfect example of what happened to a woman’s modeling career if her transgender identity became public.

Geena Rocero told Mic:

As reported by Mic, the entire “Nine Wonders of the World” project began because art director and executive producer Christopher Sollinger wanted to work with Tracey, and celebrate a legendary woman who had been forced to hide herself.

Rocero spoke about the importance of the visibility provided by Harper’s Bazaar, telling Mic:

But Rocero also noted the need for pop culture visibility to translate to actual improvements in the lives of trans people:

Hopefully, normalization and inclusion of trans people in the public eye will help enact desperately needed social change. As Rocero said, “We’ve been here for so long; we’ve always been around and here we are.”

Congratulations to these two flawless trans women for this historic achievement!

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