Trans-Identified Male Named One Of Glamour’s 2023 “Women of the Year”

A trans-identified male model has been named as one of the recipients of Glamour magazine’s 2023 Woman of the Year award, prompting criticism on social media. Geena Rocero, a New York-based fashion model, was previously a beauty pageant contestant from the Philippines who participated in events for women and girls as well as for gay men and teen boys in drag.

On X (formerly Twitter), commenters pointed out that Rocero is male, with some questioning whether Glamour believes that “men are better at being a woman,” or asking whether the magazine had trouble finding “real women” for the distinction.

“How regressive, excluding women from a woman’s award in favour of a man. Almost like the Women’s Liberation Movement never happened,” replied Jane Griffiths on X.

“You’re actively participating in and promoting female erasure. Men pretending to be women are men. You are on the wrong side of history. Shame on you,” responded another critic.

Rocero entered his first beauty pageant, Super Sireyna, at the age of 15 at the behest of an older trans-identified male and beauty pageant manager he refers to as his “trans mom,” Tigerlily. Out of over 40 female contestants, Rocero won second runner-up, best in swimsuit, and best in long gown.

“My trans mother, Tigerlily, saw me at 15 years old, she was like, ‘Oh, she could do it.’ I was introduced to her through a friend and I was still wearing my high school uniform at College of St. Peter. Tigerlily saw me and she’s like, ‘You know what, put on this two-piece bikini.’ I put it on and I saw a body, darling. Skin, body, glistening,” Rocero told Interview in May.

He continued, “That [was] the beginning of ‘I’m not going to college.’ I’m going to make money, I’ll have boyfriends all over the Philippines … I used to join pageants in every barrio all over the Philippines. From Pangasinan all the way to Ilocos Norte and all over Manila — I joined it all.”

Rocero recalled that he had been watching beauty pageants on television leading up to his first event. “I was watching this pageant, the finals on national television, then two weeks later I beat them all,” he said. He used his prize money to purchase female hormones in order to more closely resemble a woman.

Rocero would then go on to take multiple awards and titles at beauty pageants. In 2000, when he was just 16 years old and going by the moniker Gina Garcia, Rocero was named Ms. Gay Universe 2000. The “Miss Gay” series of pageants refers to beauty competitions involving men in drag.

The following year, Rocero joined his mother in the United States and two years later underwent genital surgery in San Francisco.

After relocating to the United States, Rocero pursued a career in lingerie modeling, and has described the experience as “ultimate validation.”

In 2014, he revealed that he was male during a TED talk, telling the audience, “I was assigned a boy at birth based on the appearance of my genitalia.” His speech went viral online, racking up millions of views.

In 2015, he appeared on the talk show TODAY alongside Dr. Michelle Forcier advocating the position that children as young as 2 years old can self-declare a gender identity. Last month, a lawsuit was filed against Forcier by female detransitioner Isabella Ayala, among others, who was given hormones at the age of 14 years old.

At that time, Rocero was acting as the Executive Producer of “Beautiful As I Want To Be”, a digital series which paired young people with an adult mentor who identifies as transgender.

Following the success of his TED talk, Rocero was invited to speak at the White House at an LGBT Innovation Summit, and the 2014 Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Gala, and has worked with the State Department under former President Obama.

In August 2019, he was featured as the Playboy Playmate of the Month in their Gender and Sexuality issue. The Playboy article written by Rocero was nominated for a GLAAD Award.

Commenting on the nomination, Alex Schmider, GLAAD’s Associate Director of Transgender Representation, said, “By spotlighting talented and beautiful models like Geena, Playboy is amplifying a simple fact that other media outlets should echo loudly: trans women are women.”

In addition to speaking at the White House, Rocero presented at the United Nations Headquarters for UN Women in 2020 and at the World Economic Forum on at least two occasions, in 2017 and in 2020.

Rocero was again invited to the White House earlier this year, where he promoted his autobiography, “Horse Barbie.”

The decision by Glamour to award Rocero with the honor of Woman of the Year is part of a larger trend. Numerous men who claim to be women have been presented with similar titles in recent years.

In March, a trans-identified male who drafted a bill declaring Minnesota a “refuge state” for the medical transitioning of minors the title of Woman of the Year by USA Today. Leigh Finke was among 50 honorees chosen by the publication from each state, including such notable female figures as former first lady Michelle Obama and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme court. Finke authored a book for teens which instructed them to “limit contact with any adult” who does not affirm their “queerness,” and suggested that minors should visit “queer sex shops.”

In response to being awarded the title of Woman of the Year 2023, Rocero was profiled for Glamour by another trans-identified male who has been featured at events and employed by publications typically aimed at women. Raquel Willis was a speaker at the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, DC.

In 2018, Willis was named an Open Society Foundation Soros Equality Fellow and began to work as the executive director of LGBT publication Out magazine. In 2020 he was appointed as the director of communications for the Ms. Foundation for Women.

But this is not the first time Glamour has bestowed a male with the title of Woman of the Year.

As previously reported by Reduxx, Brazil’s franchise of Glamour awarded a male social media influencer the title despite him not even identifying as a “woman.” Linn da Quebrada, who had previously come under fire from Brazilian feminist influencers for mocking pregnant women, had previously stated that he does not believe women ‘exist.’

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Genevieve Gluck

Genevieve is the Co-Founder of Reduxx, and the outlet's Chief Investigative Journalist with a focused interest in pornography, sexual predators, and fetish subcultures. She is the creator of the podcast Women's Voices, which features news commentary and interviews regarding women's rights.

Genevieve Gluck
Genevieve Gluck
Genevieve is the Co-Founder of Reduxx, and the outlet's Chief Investigative Journalist with a focused interest in pornography, sexual predators, and fetish subcultures. She is the creator of the podcast Women's Voices, which features news commentary and interviews regarding women's rights.