Meet the gen­der cap­i­tal­ist, model, ac­tor and In­sta­gram sen­sa­tion that’s de­fy­ing lim­i­ta­tions and break­ing free from the con­fines of the binary.

Gay Times Magazine - - Culture - Pho­tog­ra­phy Eva Zar Fash­ion Heather New­berger Words Wil­liam J Con­nolly

“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.”

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