Geena Rocero and Tracey Africa Norman, (pictured above), are the first transgender models to be featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. In an effort to celebrate diversity, the models, who have made their mark on the fashion industry and the LGBT movement, join seven other models — Tyra Banks, Soo Joo Park, Hind Sahli, Pyper America, Daisy Clementine Smith, Emanuela DePaula, Cora Emmanuel, and Hannelore Knuts — on special edition covers of the magazine’s most recent India publication.
According to The Cut, Christopher Scollinger, art director and executive producer for the cover shoot, was inspired to create the project after reading its profile on Norman, who rose to fame in the late 70s and early 80s as the first black, transgender model. Rocero, who, among other things, is known for coming out during a Ted Talk in 2014 and being the founder of Gender Proud, an organization with a mission to change the global conversation about transgender individuals.
Norman and Rocero’s inclusion in Harper’s Bazaar’s special cover project is inspiring not only because of how much they’ve each accomplished throughout their careers, but because it celebrates what makes them unique.
According to a report from the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based LGBT civil rights advocacy group, among the 53 known transgender homicide victims from 2013-2015 at least 46 were people of color and 46 were transgender women. Transgender individuals, especially transgender women, have record levels of violence targeted against them, so having literal role “models” for transgender individuals, as well as LGBT allies and the general public, to look up to is such a big deal for so many reasons.
By featuring Norman and Rocero on its cover, Harper’s Bazaar is making an effort to be representative of the diversity found throughout the world. While the modeling and fashion industry, along with a number of other industries, still have a long way to go until they’re completely inclusive of people of all races, genders, sex, socioeconomic status, and more, this is a good step.