Vancouver’s Jenna Talackova was everything Miss Universe Canada was looking for when she was selected among 65 finalists for the 2012 competition, to be held in Toronto in May.
But the Donald Trump–owned beauty pageant has confirmed that the 23-year-old has been disqualified from the competition.
The reason, Talackova claims, is she was born male.“She did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form,” stated a Miss Universe Canada release.
An online petition has been started to get transsexual Miss Universe Canada finalist Jenna Talackova of Vancouver reinstated.
The petition, which was started by a man in Brooklyn, N.Y., is being hosted on www.change.org, a for-profit company that says it aims to promote social change through online petitions.
The petition has more than 30,300 signatures toward the 35,000 goal.“She is a woman who deserves to be treated like other women would be,” says the petition. “What kind of genitals she was born with [and even what kind she has today] is completely irrelevant.”
One petition signator argued that Talackova is legally and physically a woman.“Her being trans represents that it was harder for her than most to get where she is today, and that make her the perfect Miss Universe contestant,” said the signator.
The Miss Universe pageant has acknowledged Talackova is not a contestant, but had not elaborated on why.
“She did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form,” said the pageant.Contest rules state that contestants must be Canadian citizens and between the ages of 18 and 27. They cannot be pregnant or married, but there is no mention of any cosmetic or sex-reassignment surgery being prohibited.
In a YouTube video from the 2010 Miss International Queen transgender and transsexual competition Talackova says she knew she was a girl at four years old and began hormone therapy at 14. She says she underwent sex reassignment surgery at the age of 19 and identifies herself as 22-year-old student in the video.The pageant organization has also said they “respect her (Talackova’s) goals, determination and wish her the best.”
Donald Trump owns the Miss Universe organization with NBC Universal. The joint venture sells the television rights to Miss Universe-branded spinoff pageants in other countries.
Beauties of Canada Organization gained the exclusive rights to send a Canadian to the Miss Universe Pageant in 2002.UPDATE: 4 APRIL 2012Transgendered Miss Canada contestant threatens legal action against Miss Universe OrganizationLess than two weeks ago, Miss Canada Universe contestant Jenna Talackova went public with her dismissal from the pageant. The Miss Universe Organization refused to allow Talackova to compete because she was not “naturally born” a woman. Talackova enlisted high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred along with a top Canadian lawyer to join her in fighting for the right to compete at the pageant, which runs May 17-19.
Yesterday, the Organization tentatively reversed their position, issuing this statement: “The Miss Universe Organization 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.”
Today, Talackova’s fate as a contestant next month remains in the balance as she and Allred have taken issue with the Organization’s careful wording. Now they are demanding a definitive answer as to her competitive status and calling for Organization head Donald Trump “to step up and be a leader in the fight against discrimination.”
UPDATE: 19 MAY 2012Jenna Talackova in a bathing suit