NEW YORK, N.Y. — Playboy announced its collaboration with The Trevor Project to help drive awareness and raise funds for its “50 Bills 50 States” initiative.

“50 Bills 50 States” is an initiative working to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in every state in the nation and countries around the world. The two entities are catching the wave of the magazine’s “PRIDE IS GOOD” campaign, inspired by the 1960’s rallying cry for equality “Gay is Good.” It celebrates free expression, demonstrates solidarity with the queer community and advocates for protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy and its ideology of shame across the U.S. The campaign honors the progress made since Playboy first advocated for equal rights five decades ago and recognizes what still needs to be done to secure equality for all.

As part of the multifaceted campaign, Playboy commissioned seven queer artists to create renderings that enable all people to express themselves and feel proud of who they are. Seth Bogart, Winston Elliott, C. Finley, Sarah Maxwell, Nina Palomba, Favianna Rodriguez and Loveis Weiss reimagined the iconic Playboy “bunny ears” to create celebratory pieces for “PRIDE IS GOOD.” These curated pieces represent Playboy’s “call-to-ears”— a physical manifestation of Playboy’s commitment to Pride and ongoing support of the LGBTQ community. Sale of the ears benefits The Trevor Project.

“An estimated 700,000 LGBTQ adults have been subjected to conversion therapy, with 350,000 of them receiving the dangerous and discredited treatment as youth and sadly that number continues to grow by the thousands each year,” said Amit Paley, CEO executive director of The Trevor Project, citing data from the Williams Institute. “We’re grateful to Playboy for supporting The Trevor Project’s campaign to protect LGBTQ youth by ending conversion therapy in every state in the country.”

“Playboy’s core mission is to support the idea that everyone, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race or religion, should be allowed to pursue pleasure, free from judgment and restriction,” said Rachel Webber, Playboy’s CEO and president of corporate strategy. “Our ‘PRIDE IS GOOD’ campaign honors the progress we’ve made and underscores our commitment to do what still remains to be done to secure dignity for all. We stand with and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and we are honored to support The Trevor Project, which for years has fought for the rights of this community and whose advocacy has been an important part of a successful movement securing the passage of legislation against conversion therapy in 18 states and counting. Playboy will continue to push for real policy change in all 50 states, and to remove the barriers to pleasure for all.”

Playboy has been an advocate of the LGBTQ community since the company’s inception in 1953. The magazine published “The Crooked Man” in 1955, a radical-for-its-time short story by Charles Beaumont which presented a world in which being gay was the norm and heterosexuality was criminalized. In 1969, three months before the Stonewall Riots jumpstarted the modern LGBTQ rights movement, Playboy published a reader’s letter titled “Gay Is Good,” supporting the letter’s anti-conversion therapy stance and sharing the sentiment that being gay was not something that needed to be cured. Representatives from the magazine said its efforts to end conversion therapy comes full circle with the “PRIDE IS GOOD” campaign as the company continues to give a voice to the movement. In 1991, Playboy published its first nude pictorial featuring an openly transgender model, actress Caroline “Tula” Cossey. And more recently, Playboy was awarded the 2018 British LGBTQ Award for Best Brand in the UK for its work with transgender supermodel Ines Rau.

With editorial guidance from The Trevor Project, Playboy also dedicated part of its Sexuality and Gender summer issue to survivors of conversion therapy and activists who are fighting, state by state, to protect youth from the practice nationwide. Sam Brinton, Ralph Bruneau, Dusty Ray Bottoms, Peter Nunn, Veronica Kennedy and Gaby GarciaVera are featured as modern-day champions for their resilience and perseverance.

In addition, Playboy commissioned a capsule collection including artist-designed bunny ears, a T-shirt line featuring the artists’ designs and more, plus it launched a social content campaign featuring influencers from the LGBTQ and ally community.


Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.