Gender neutral cover star makes history with magazine shoot
The gender neutrality movement has come leaps and bounds in recent years. With more people becoming aware of the danger of stereotyping; campaigns for gender neutral bathrooms have seen success, and society has generally become more aware of the complexities surrounding what it means to be "male" and "female".
One of the figures at the forefront of the movement is model Rain Dove, who has just made history by being the first gender neutral model to be on the cover of Diva magazine - a leading publication for the LGBTQ+ community.
Rain Dove has been using their platform to change how we see gender through the medium of clothing. The 27-year-old has been featured in Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan, wearing both menswear and womenswear, in accordance with their activism.
The self-proclaimed gender capitalist stands at 6ft 2in, with broad shoulders, muscly biceps and 32DD breasts. However, Dove wasn't always so sure in their gender identity. Growing up in an insular town in Vermont, the model wasn't aware that they looked different to other girls, until they became a firefighter.
Speaking to Yahoo Style, Dove elaborated: "The male firefighters asked me to rate the women with them. I realised very quickly that I didn’t want to be the ugly woman in a room full of men so I went along with being a man for the next 11 months".
Dove's ascent into the world of modelling was rather unconventional. After losing a bet with a friend, they agreed to go to a casting call for Calvin Klein - which turned out to be for men's underwear. And now, several years later, Rain Dove has fronted numerous campaigns and walked on both the men's and women's runways at New York fashion week.
With a body that defies society's conventions, Dove has established a platform on Instagram which not only challenges the gender binary, but addresses some of the key issues that members of the LGBTQ+ community face.
The 27-year-old raises awareness about alternative conceptions of gender by posting images of themselves dressed in the male and female versions of the same outfit.
When asked about how it feels to make history as the first gender neutral cover star of Diva magazine, Dove replied by saying that they felt "honoured", and at the same time "hopeful" that "more diverse voices and identities will be showcased as a result".
"Diva has consistently been a champion for diversity and moments like this have likely saved many lives by showing that diversity can exist in public spaces and it can be safe," the 27-year-old continued.
And speaking about the cover, editor of Diva, Carrie Lyell, stated:
"Rain is an incredible person and we are absolutely thrilled to have them on our cover this month
"I am immensely proud of this cover, and indeed the whole issue, which I believe is a game changer. I hope DIVA readers old and new enjoy it."