Miss Universe to allow transgender entries; Talackova to compete
Jenna Talackova is back on for the Miss Universe Canada pageant, now that the Miss Universe organization has stricken down its rule requiring a contestant to be a "naturally born woman."
The organization, along with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, on Tuesday announced that the competition would become open to transgender women. Talackova, whose Canadian passport lists her as female, had been disqualified in late March after the pageant became aware of her past as a man.
Though she specifically was allowed back in on April 2, Talackova held out for a larger rule change, arguing that in the future no other transgender woman should have to face what she did.
"The Miss Universe Organization today follows institutions that have taken a stand against discrimination of transgender women including the Olympics, NCAA, the Girl Scouts of America and the CW’s 'America’s Next Top Model,' " GLAAD spokesman Herndon Graddick said in a statement, which also thanked pageant owner Donald Trump and his team for what Graddick called their swift and appropriate response
So much for Gloria Allred on "The View" on Monday with a gracious Talackova at her side, framing the situation as "Donald Trump zero, Gloria Allred one"?
"The decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions with GLAAD and not Jenna’s legal representation, which if anything delayed the process," Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said in a statement. "We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously."
On Tuesday morning, Talackova's name and picture had been returned to the ranks of the Canadian pageant's 2012 contestants.
Watch Talackova's Monday appearance on "The View," which thanks to Barbara Walters includes discussion of her gender-reassignment surgery, below.
Photo: Jenna Talackova and her passport at an April 3 press conference. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press