Miss Universe Reverses Position to Allow Jenna Talackova

Jenna Talackova Jenna Talackova

The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova, a transgender beauty contestant, to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant.

When Jenna Talakova was disqualified from the Miss Vancouver (Canada) finals for the Miss Universe pageant because she wasn't born female, it became a media lightning rod of activity; an online petition in support of Miss Talackova quickly drew 50,000 signatures; GLAAD and other rights organizations contacted the pageant, and the story was picked up in hundreds of news outlets.  

Now, in a statement released Monday the pageant organization said it has decided to allow Talackova to compete: "The Miss Universe Organziation will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant, provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions."

CNN noted that " The statement, however, did not elaborate on what the requirements were.


The news came a day before Talackova was expected to hold a news conference with high-profile feminist lawyer Gloria Allred to talk about her experience.Until now she hasn't spoken to reporters, and it was unclear whether the news conference Tuesday will proceed as planned."


Talackova was one of the 65 finalists selected to contend for the title of Miss Universe Canada and the honor of representing her country in the Miss Universe competition.


But organizers told her last month she could not compete because she lied about having undergone sexual reassignment surgery and did not meet requirements for the pageant.


At the time, the Miss Universe Organization said current rules state that all contestants must be a "naturally born female."

GLAAD, a lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender advocacy group, said it commends the organization for taking an important first step, and they said in a press release that they are working with the organization to develop better guidelines for the future: "The Miss Universe Organization should look to state non-discrimination laws and institutions, including the Olympics, NCAA and the CW's "America's Next Top Model (Isis King made the top 10), " which do not discriminate against transgender women."

View Jenna Talackova's photo gallery


Last modified onMonday, 10 March 2014 19:32
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