Meet the gender capitalist, model, actor and Instagram sensation that’s defying limitations and breaking free from the confines of the binary.
“For the first time in my life, this is the closest I could get to the truth. I love who I love and I’m open to any possibility of the future. I don’t really care how people refer to me and I love my body and how it functions, but it isn’t everything I am.” They pause: “I’m a tall human being who has a face that most people would describe as societally manly, but I’ve got the tits of a play bunny that occur naturally - all of which is pretty darn cool!”
It’s less than 90 seconds after meeting our March cover star - currently in LA - and we’ve moved from polite intros to that of body parts, a bit of self-love, and even a few expletives added in, too! It’s not your usual opening line to a Gay Times interview, but that’s exactly why this cover star isn’t like others we’ve done before.
With muscular arms, 32DD breasts, Rain makes history as the first self-titled gender capitalist to cover Gay Times. Quick to point out that they wouldn’t directly label as trans or non-binary, their life is that of a calling to send the royalist of middle fingers to the strangling confines of societal labels, gender-norms, and the need to put us all into a box. That is, alongside fucking with men’s and women’s body standards, storming the fashion and modelling industry with the likes of Calvin Klein, and even throwing in a bit of acting as well.
“I used to date someone that said ‘perfection is reality’ and to me, that’s it,” Rain begins when pushed on how they’d describe who Rain Dove is to the world, briefly making polite reference back to their given birth gender of female - a title they’ve since relinquished. “I was born with a big F on my birth certificate, but I always felt that stood for fail. I always felt like I failed to fit in or fit the sexpectations of what being a female was. I love my body and don’t want to change it.” They continue: “It has cool things going on, but I don’t like the limitations that come with the label. When I talk to people about my sexuality or my identity, my answer is always that ‘I am I’.”
What might a self-titled gender capitalist, that rejects both male and female pronouns, see as their purpose in the world? “Rain is an activist. I’m an experience and my purpose is to make sure other people’s experiences are better than the people who have come before them, ”they explain firmly. “People usually go out there and explain either good things or bad things about me, so I am what I am to anyone who comes across me, and when they do I’m often thought of in many different ways.”
Having shot to international fame as the face of Calvin Klein, Rain’s life changed almost overnight as the person from a little town in Vermont who dreamed of making a difference in the big, bright and beautiful world. But their launch to stardom only came about through a random bet with a friend. A bet that soon brings on moments of great laughter when we ask Rain to recall.
“They’re the whole reason I’m modelling,” Rain smiles when referencing how their partnership with the international brand tumbled into fruition. “I was cast as a male by accident and I didn’t think much of it - as that has happened before. When I got to the show, they handed me this pair of underwear and said that this was my outfit. I realise I was in a men’s underwear show and had never taken my shirt off in front of them before. I had these huge tits and I’d lost a bet to get to that point, so I had two choices.” Pausing as they smirk, Rain continues: “I could have easily said I had something... extra that wasn’t considered in this outfit choice, or I
I had an agent who took me off the men’s board
because I was an ‘imposter to the men’.
could embarrass my friend just as much as I felt embarrassed to be there, so I put on the underwear and they ended up yelling for me to arrive... so I did! I burst out of the dressing room and onto the runway totally topless in just underwear without a bra or anything - tits bouncing down the runway.”
Laughing that the “casting director looked like he was going to shit himself”, Rain notes this moment as the start of their mainstream modelling career - a time that started as a joke but left them anything but the joke.
“I’m the first person to work for Calvin Klein who identifies as I identify, which is everything and nothing,” tells Rain, naming Grace Jones as a fellow gender non-conforming individual they believe has also worked with Calvin Klein. Rain quickly correcting themselves: “I’m not gender nonconforming, I’m just not gender at all.” And although they believe the modelling and fashion world is noticeably kinder than the acting world in regards to equality for individuals like them, Rain shares great appreciation in the work they personally have done in both, with Rain as a model and actress. And the greatest work comes from their time walking both the men’s and women’s runway at New York Fashion Week.
Which instantly gets us tackling the tiny elephant in the room: pronouns. We brace, Rain laughs. “While gender is a very important thing to some people, I respect it and absolutely understand that, history also has limitations that come with certain gender identities which lead people to feel strongly about identity within those.” We nod as Rain continues: “I believe it’s one of the greatest shackles of oppression in our society, dividing people based on gender is saying some deserve that because of this and others this because of that.
“I personally don’t have time to fuck around. I have a lot of good stuff to offer the world. I’ve had some great near-misses and because of those, I don’t know when I’m going and I want to make sure that I can show up and give the world the best I can give so they can give me the best back. That means that I can present myself as whatever I need to present as in order to get the best out of situations.”
It’s crystal clear that Rain isn’t here to confuse anybody, nor are they here to create a conversation that’s unwanted for some. Rain’s lack of selflabelling towards one greater gender comes from not seeking permission to structure their being within society. Rain’s not looking for the validation of other people to live as they want to live. “It’s about freedom and being able to experience this experience to the best of their ability. We have to honour ourselves by releasing those bonds and being as free as we possibly can be. It’s about not being in others’ way.”
Agreeing that the open-mindedness of the next generation does depend on the geographical location of the individual, Rain has experienced first-hand a shift in the thoughts of others and the power of the World Wide Web. “Since we’re all connected through social media, the youth is being educated and exposed to things at a rate that’s never happened before,” they tell. “It would take 50 years to take certain civil rights issues, and we resolve them overnight on Twitter.” And alongside rewriting legislation, proposals and daily activism, there’s a passion inside Rain that you can feel shooting out every time you fire another question in their direction. But would Rain self-title as a trailblazer? “We’ve never had this kind of visibility we have now. I have the great privilege of being visible to a lot of people in a way no one ever was before, but I don’t think I’m the first person to exist the way I do.”
But education doesn’t always come from the classroom, nor is it a given at home, as Rain’s parent’s labelling of their child is split almost as harshly as the gender restrictions on a passport application form. “I’ve had my entire life to develop and evolve my language to get to a point where people can understand who I am, and what I am. When you’re just meeting me, I let you use he, she or it. I don’t care, as long as you’ve positive intention.” adds Rain, telling their parents also fall within this notion. “I have a parent that always calls me she and another that always calls me he. The she has happened since birth and has never changed - nor have I asked them to change it. That’s who I am to them.”
However, and it’s a big however, Rain is keen to make clear that they’re only one person, and a pronoun to other members of the LGBTQ community means that of validation and inclusion, and they’ll push all they can to ensure others have the right to label as they so want - even if it goes against Rain’s personal narrative. “For a lot of trans individuals, a pronoun isn’t just a sound. There are people who have fought so hard to be seen as these things. I can’t say that my way of thinking is advanced because it doesn’t apply to all people, it just works for me.”
With the chance to sign with a handful of big agencies when first delving into the modelling world, Rain chose one that’s further down on the desire list because it championed their freedom. It, unlike others, didn’t confine Rain to the binary limitations of the fashion world, instead allowed Rain to move in whichever direction they so wished. But is everyone within the modelling and fashion world quite so willing to such an open mind?
“They’re brutal and I had an agent who took me off the men’s board because I was an ‘imposter to the men’,” they start. “It was because men don’t get as much work as women and I’m double-dipping.” Revealing it’s been a real battle and that they still feel uncomfortable putting themselves out on the runway, Rain shyly explains that insecurities still lie low daily. “I work through them because this career blew up in a way that I didn’t want then. I was on a different career path and it gave me the platform to do what I really want to do which is activism and acting, both of which I love.”
Noting they’re inspired by anybody who exists on the planet in their purest form, even when it’s especially hard to exist, Rain’s main focus is on the wellbeing of anybody that needs someone to call a friend. Too busy to plant one place as home, and talking to us just before flying across the US once again, it looks like there’s very few things that’ll stop Rain from continuing on a quest for happiness for all. And although the onslaught of death threats and violence persists on a sadly regular basis, the success and placement of Rain Dove within both the mainstream and the medium is one that soars higher than any of the haters.
And to LGBTQ youth, Rain’s one loud and clear message: “I’ve not yet read one great book in which the lead character does not experience some kind of conflict that they have to rise up to in order to become better. Maybe you’re just at the beginning of a really good story. I’m here for you, and you’ve at least one person on this planet that loves you.”