Friday, December 07, 2012

Trans History-Roberta Close

Contrary to this article implying that trans models like Lea T, Felipa Torres and Carol Marra are some 21st century twist to the Brazilian modeling scene, that isn't the case.  There was a trans woman strutting the catwalks in Brazil and elsewhere in the world back in the 80's.

This latest group of twentysomething Brazilian models need to bow down and recognize their trans sister who paved the way for them to be able to strut those catwalks in Rio, New York, Milan and Paris.

The pioneering transwoman in question is Roberta Gambine Moreira, who was born on this date in 1964 in Rio de Janiero.  

Known professionally as Roberta Close, she started surreptitiously taking hormones in her teens and began her modeling and film career at age 17.

The 5'10 1/2" beauty won the Miss Gay Brazil pageant at age 20, appeared in a popular Brazilian soap opera and print ads. 

She was the first trans woman to appear on the cover of Brazilian Playboy (while preoperative), and hosted a late night talk show in her homeland.  Even though she was comfortable with her pre-op status during that time period, she eventually had SRS in Britain in 1989, appeared in a post-operative photo spread in the  Brazilian mens magazine Sexy and was voted the 'Most Beautiful Woman In Brazil'.

In 1993 she married her Swiss manager, Roland Granacher, in Europe since in Roman Catholic Brazil she wasn't able to do so.

She also fought a lengthy legal battle in the Brazilian court system to challenge the laws that refused to recognize her femininity in her documentation.  She lost an initial round in 1997 and another in 2003, but eventually won her case to have her birth documentation changed.

On March 4, 2005, Roberta Close acquired legal status as a female in Brazil after Judge Leise Rodrigues de Lima Espiritu Santo of the 9th Family Court of Rio de Janeiro legally recognized her as a woman.

Roberta Close is the reason that the current crop of Brazilian trans models have their opportunities to make it in the fashion world today, and hope these 21st century ladies appreciate the barriers Roberta broke down for them.


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