Miss Universe Pageant Now Allowing Transgender Contestants to Compete

April 10, 2012  |  

Today Miss Universe pageant officials announced that transgender women will be allowed to compete for the crown in next year’s competition. The announcement comes just in time for trials which begin this summer, and one week after the committee made the decision to allow transgender contestant  Jenna Talackova to compete this year.

The 23-year-old Vancouver resident underwent a sex change four years ago and was initially disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada pageant citing a rule that said she must be “naturally born” a woman. Jenna plead for her right to compete, saying:

“I am a woman. I was devastated, and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust. I have never asked for any special consideration. I only wanted to compete.”

GLAAD pushed for the competition to extend acceptance to transgender women in the competition and now both organizations are working together to revise the current policy.

“We want to give credit where credit is due, and the decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions with GLAAD,” said Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization.

“We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously.”

Donald Trump, who runs the Miss Universe organization, will have to approve the final written rules along with NBC, which co-owns the competition, but the Donald has already said he wishes Jenna the best of luck in this year’s pageant.

Do you think transgender women should compete in the Miss Universe pageant?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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  • Jay

    I’m quite late on this, but I will say it. This person was born feeling with all thier might as they are a woman, and felt so much so, that they had a very critical surgery and more likely take hormones to make themselves feel complete. There is a difference between “drag” and “transgender”. To you what might seem like a costume is this person’s reality. This person has had one surgery more than any other of these girls had an oppourtunity to do. Before you start spouting on about all the “pains” it is to be a woman – most transgender women I know would gladly take on those pains if they could.

    As for something I read about transgender people being liars, come on now. Most of the cheaters I have met were “Natural Born” women. For whatever reason, men just seem to get caught more. Some of these transgender women I have met have stepped up and fought for what they believe is right in many areas. And another note – not all transgender women are born gay men. There are many “hetero” men who are transgender and still prefer women.So when it all comes down to it, people talk chromosomes. What if someone is naturally born as two genders?

  • Fannelle FromNewyork

    I don’t wish any harm to transgender people.  However, I do not agree with any of them competing in the Miss Universe pageant. I think they should be able to work, marry, live where they want and live without anyone harming them physically.  But I think being transgender is a personal thing that exists within their mind.  I think the sex you are is what you are physically born as.  If you are born with female parts, you are female. If you are born with male parts, you are a male.  As a heterosexual woman, there is no way that I would want to have a physical relationship with a person who was not born as a male.  This decision is too liberal for me.  But I repeat I think everyone’s lifestyle is their choice.  No one should harm anyone just because they are transgender.  I honestly do not believe that surgery makes you another sex.  It makes you someone who has had surgery!

  • Melodi

    Why don’t we stop all these stupid a** pageants, do we really need this anymore?

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    Why is this allowed? Can’t HE do a contest with other transgenders?  Like a wolf wearing sheepskin, he can play dress up and insert props all he wants to, but at the end of the day, he is still a MAN just as a wolf calling himself a sheep is still a wolf. . .

  • kimbrbelle87

    I’m alot annoyed by this. She is not a natural born woman and should not be competing. The fact that the Miss Universe organization caved at the media pressure makes me sick! I support her right to live her life openly, without anyone infringing on her rights, but this is ridiculous.

  • Halleberry_4u

    We are a nation of diversity. If a transgender woman wants to compete in beauty pageants, then let them. If they are beautiful to place in the competition, then what is the problem? I am a woman and not at all threatened by a transgender woman. Way to go Jenna!

  • thomasclemons5

    Why do you continue to push this sick mess on people that do not or will not except this way of life.No one ask him to cut off his stuff.He cannot produce babies and this is a fact.

  • Im Apologize if i Affend Any one – Actually i dont!!!

    truth is truth – That is not A WOMAN. furthermore they have there own pageants why is competing in ours. like its different if she was a lesbian i have no issues with that. she’s a females who’s attracted & loved by woman. great!!!  now tranny’s are usually confused individuals & mental disorder’s are usually the case as well. even if they dont have the above i aforesaid above the fact that there allowing transgender – is BS Politically Correctness at its WORSTS. no to mention the fact that the beauty pageants are a Child hood girls TYPE OF THING what are you teaching them ????
    Its Bad enough American Teen Girls are ENOUGH screwed up in head with the MTV & VIACOM & other networks Glorify Pregnancy like its winning Contest ( sooo Disgusting ).or those Teem Moms and Teen Marriage’s….i swear the USA Has sunk To A SERIOUS ALL TIME LOW…really 

  • Dreama41

    Never really been a fan of the Miss Universe pageant, and with this latest spectacle i certainly never will.  So now that transgenders can compete with natural born women in a competition that was originally created for natural women; does that mean natural women can compete in transgender competitions?? Or is it only ok for them( transgenders) to impose on competitions for real women but not the other way around. I suspect that if the situation was reversed; the transgender community would not be this accommodating . And why is a man-made woman accepted into a competition that judges WOMEN in the conventional sense of the word yet women who have borne children are excluded? As far as i’m concerned if your’re going to let a man compete in a women’s competition then there’s no point in maintaining all the other rules cause everything else pales in comparison.There’s going to be some serious backlash from this for good reason. There is simply no rational for this level of stupidity. 

  • Siddhartha Gautama

    Regardless of my opinion, I just like to see things happen so I can be reaffirmed in my hatred for humanity. Not my hatred for those running the pageant, or for the LGBT crowd. My hatred for you intolerant ignoramuses that go around acting like what you say is law. I ask you this: is it your pageant? Are you even a competitor? Who the hell are you people to say who can and can’t be in it, or what qualifies as a female under their rules? You’re right, she’s not a natural born female. SO THEY CHANGED THAT RULE. It’s not like they’re saying she’s as much of a woman as anyone else, or that they’re trying to upset your fragile little existences. They changed the rules to incorporate certain people, to make them happy. Because at the end of the day, all that matters is whether or not you made the world a better place. I’m glad to see some people (and maybe 4 of you in the comments) see that.

  • this is truly sad the world is gone mad 

  • heeeeeeeeelll NAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Business406

    Can someone please shut down this hate group a.k.a GLAAD? All they do is bully and threaten people. I’m sorry this man is having an apparent identity crisis, but why should we all have to suffer through it with him? Smh.

  • Truth0312

    Okay, here’s the thing.  I think folks on here are confusing gender identity with biological sex.  The person who commented that women with kids should be able to participate is correct.  The reasons for their exclusions are as archaic as these competitions that pit women against each other on the basis of their physical appearances.  And speaking of physical appearances, many of these pageant contestants have be surgically altered, as well.  Shouldn’t they also be excluded?  This is a beauty contest, it’s not like they’e competing on the highest estrogen levels.  Should infertile women not compete either?  I have a problem discriminating because at one time Black folks were excluded from these pageants because of ignorance. The thought of our inclusion to some, was deemed “unnatural”.  I just think people who are against this are just hiding their prejudices.  I was a born a woman and no other woman,  physically born that way or not, can EVER make me insecure about myself.  There’s so much more to me than my appearance.  I don’t claim to understand the dilemma that transgendered folks feel, because I don’t; but I’m not a hater, either.  You have to do what works for you because if you live your life to make other folks comfortable, then you ain’t living at all.  Deuces.  

    • Psm3

      Although I don’t feel entirely for transgender women competing and mainly because truth of the matter is it’s a competition FOR women. But very well put. There is definitely so much more than a woman’s appearance and these pageants have focused less on those other aspects and maybe now that’s why for some it seems ok. No matter what though I hope everyone remembers we are not the ultimate judge.

  • Tim

    I think this is wrong… HOWEVER, MAYBE they can make a pagent just for transgender people.

    • jackieOsassin

      they have one. she competed in it before she was reassigned. then she wanted to compete in Miss Universe Canada and go on to possibly compete in Miss Universe.

  • Kim Ann

    Im sorry but this is NOT FAIR… its not fair because you are NOT and NEVER WILL BE a WOMAN.. no matter how many transitions you make.  If you were born a man, you are a man. and this is offensive because your giving men the WRONG IMPRESSION.  i might not know much about transgender, gay, w.e.  But I consider you the feminin gay male.  not a woman. not even close… you just built yourself to look like one of us.  But its offensive because of these simple factors,

    1.) Do you go through the harsh, PAINFUL monthly “Blessings” that we get? (aka periods?) NO… 

    some tranny’s might get weird bleeding but that is NOT considered a LEGIT PERIOD that REAL Women have to go through.

    2.) Are you capable of having children (aka labor?) NO 

    3.) Were you born with the same chromosome as REAL women? NO

    4.)  can you make a good women if you are NOT REALLY A WOMAN? the answer my friend, is NO…

    These are just some of the reasons why its so offensive these confused people have the right to call themselves a “Woman” you they are most definitely NOT. and never will be… 

    And as for straight men, 

    Guys, have you ever been tricked? well, what if you were married to someone who is transgender and you both have been married for years, without knowing that the person you married was NOT actually a woman.  and they have the right not to tell anyone… and then, when they do decide to tell you, how would you feel?  you are a straight man, who married another man who had a small appearance change.  

    Im not hating against anyone, but i am just saying my opinion which i have to right to express… this is NOT fair to REAL women.  I think this should stop dead in its tracks… Its confusing and again, not fair.  

    They are NOT women… please understand this.

  • Love_Sexy

    This world has really lost its mind…..Sad!

  • It’s not between the legs but what in between the ears that classifies a woman as a woman and a man as a man….. So if she is a woman she should be able to compete. And she took the time to actually get surgery so I see no problem.

    • Business406

      I’m so sorry that you’re confused Kayla. Clearly what’s between someone’s ears does not define the sex of the person. EVERYTHING DOES! stop trying to distort truth. You have no boundaries or morals. I hope you don’t reproduce.

      • Uh actually it does.  If biologically they’re a woman, that makes them a woman. Regardless of what parts they have. Just because it’s the truth you’re not comfortable with, doesn’t mean it’s still not the truth.

  • Friend of Audre

    I think that it is great and I hope that she kills it! People should understand that transexual ≠ transgender ≠ transvestite ≠ drag queen. However, I think that it is equally important to understand that the term “woman” is a social construct, much like the word “race.” Society has constructed these boxes that people have to fit into or you are automatically considered an anomaly (a way to divide and conquer). You are born biologically female or male (or both in some cases). That is why a person can be born a male, but identify as a societal defined woman, and vice versa. That is obviously what this woman may have felt. So for her to get her physical appearance to match what she has felt inside all along is amazing and I commend her. It takes courage, especially when you have people that are going to hate you simply because you don’t fit the “usual” mold. Kudos to her. Kick a** girl!  

  • Netdandri

    The US has gone totally PC about everything. I wonder what other counties have to say about this.

  • Zc7463

    This world is in mass confusion.  You know things are getting out of hand now.  The world is living a complete lie.

  • Sandra101

    I think its ridiculous for natural women to compete with transgenders. I ran for Miss USA and now the pageant is a complete spectacle. Its about women. I hope Miss America don’t follow suit. 

    • jackieOsassin

      i had no idea that contest was about seeing which woman could spew out the most estrogen or show off their uterine stuffed vaginas. i always thought it was about beauty, poise, talent, and grace.

      but then again, i didn’t compete. you did.

  • Kenedy

    I agree that a whole new division, Ms. Transgender Universe, should be created. I don’t think it would be fair for a “constructed” woman to compete with a natural born woman. Yes, alot of the natural women have fake body parts as well, but atleast they have a base of genuity.

  • Msldybrit

    I dont agree with it for the simple fact the entire body would be artifically constructed. What about the real women that are working hard to maintain their own natural beauty? Not saying some of them havent had enhancements. however, it just seems extremely unbalanced

  • L-Boogie

    No disrespect to the transgender community but it is unfair for transgender women to participate in these contest.  I think it would be better to create their own platform.  For example, Miss Transgender USA.  

  • Neecee401

    This is BS. How is this fair to the other women in the pageant, that were actually born women? And not constructed to be one. If they’re going to let Transgenders in then they need to start letting in women who have had had kids.

    • how is the person born a man have more of an advantage than the woman who were born a woman in a competition that is for woman. If anything they would be at a disadvantage. 

      • Sassy

        Because certain attributes in their body has been surgically enhanced… boobs, looks …etc.

        • some of the woman probably have been surgically enhanced too. Should they not compete?

  • icanbutiwont

    Think about the men who unknowingly sit and drool over these women/men. LMAO

  • jackieOsassin

    i think it’s wonderful. to exclude someone just because they weren’t “naturally” born a certain way is on a level of discrimination i don’t think has even been classified yet. it would be different if she did not undergo the gender reassignment surgery (which takes YEARS) and was just a man in a dress trying to compete. she dedicated her life to becoming a woman and feeling comfortable in her skin and she wants to display her beauty and confidence just like any other woman in the competition. so what if she wasn’t born with a v****a. are we really going to sit here and say that that is the only thing that makes a woman a REAL woman? 

    if i lost my vagina tomorrow i would still be the strong, classy, sophisticated, and hair-swingingest woman that i was before. period.

    • lastsaneman

      “are we really going to sit here and say that a vagina is the only thing that makes a woman a REAL woman?,,,,,,yes we are jack ass,,,,,,if a person don’t have a uterus, fallopian tubes, and other REAL female parts that CAN’T be duplicated by man,,,they shouldn’t be allowed to compete in FEMALE contests

      • jackieOsassin

        so, if you lost all of those structures tomorrow, you wouldn’t be a woman is what you’re trying to say?

        my aunt had a total hysterectomy due to intense hemorrhaging threatening her life. her uterus, fallopian tubes, and her ovaries are GONE. is she a woman?

        • Ms_Sunshine9898

           what makes her a woman is her genetic code. the unique parts of a woman that she was born with were taken away but it didn’t take away her womanhood. let’s not play games now. . .

          • jackieOsassin

            it’s 50% genetic and 50% mental, gender is. you can’t boil it down to something so definite as “genetic code” or “biological makeup”. they both go hand in hand. if you woke up as a man tomorrow with everything about you male except your mind, i guess you’d just be a guy, right?

            • Ms_Sunshine9898

              i’d still be a guy because that’s what I would be at that moment in time. . . .

              • jackieOsassin

                wow….you just confirmed a lot for me lol. seriously.

                • Ms_Sunshine9898

                   I just confirmed for you that your logic makes no sense and is without reason. stop trying to justify and make sense of some that isn’t what you claim it to be. i can throw the wonder woman costume on all day and hope and wish and pray and believe it in my heart and mind. it still don’t change the fact that underneath all that i am not wonder woman. #feedingyousomenutritionforyourbrain. . .

                  • jackieOsassin

                    my logic makes no sense yet you think gender can be boiled down to a genetic code…*sigh*

                    just because you’re BORN a female doesn’t mean you ARE a woman.

    • Nina Dashotta

      You’re not making a bit of sense…Seriously…this is wrong on MANY levels. They have a transgender pageant show ever heard of Julie Newmar!? If you lost you vagina today or tomorrow of course you would still be considered a female, why???? BECAUSE YOU WERE BORN THAT WAY! Its on your birth certificate and GYN records, so your comparison is irrelevant and flawed. So hey, let me give you a more intelligent view: you compete in miss black universe, did all your foot work only to have another race be entered because they tanned themselves to be dark skinned and pass as a black woman, would you accept that? I mean they aren’t naturally black right? But look the part…Pessimism can be prevented ya know!

      • what about people born with the opposite body parts? like hermaphrodites? And someone who is transgendered like a man born with the brain of a woman is an actual thing, and shouldn’t be compared with someone who tans their skin… how ignorant it would be to think the world must be all black and white. 

        •  There really is some Grey and or Gray areas but I will tell you what this ain’t even one of the situations! It’s wrong to the 15th power!

          • how is it wrong.. Honestly if this story never came out would you have even known she was born a man?

        • Business406

          What about people with no morals or limits. Hey Kayla do you think adults should be allowed to marry children? Do you think people should have sex with animals? Of course you do, just like you believe a man can cut his penis off, suddenly become a woman, then enter a national competition that inspires young girls. You are ungodly. Go to bed. Goodnight Kayla.

          • oh right being transgendered is just like having sex with a horse. *eye roll* And you do know she didn’t just cut off her penis then entered the competition… But of course everything is just black and white. So basically the only thing that is stopping you from being a man, is your boobs and vagina. And you never answered my hermaphrodites question….I wonder why..

      • Manifest91807

        Well said!!!! Thank you…

      • jackieOsassin

        i agree with your point on race, because race is not something that can be reassigned. however, gender is. just because i was born a woman doesn’t mean i’m any more woman than someone who underwent reassignment. if they took the time, the money, and the diligence to live as a woman who’s to say they’re not just because they don’t have the right parts? to boil the question of gender down to genitalia is uncomfortably perverse, in my opinion.

        and by the way, i know there are transgender-specific pageants; obviously she didn’t want to be in that one.

        • Psm3

          So kinda sounds like ur saying anything should be allowed as long as u pay for it and do he work for it?? Also Aren’t we supposed to be teaching our young ones and society that we should be comfortable in our own skin, so why then would a transgender woman not want to compete in a competion that is about just that her lifestyle changes and sacrifices. And I don’t get how u can say race can’t be reassigned. If they can make a man be a woman is it really that impossible or has it just not been done yet. Also why wouldn’t a man that didn’t undergo the physical changes to become a woman but who “is a woman at heart” not be allowed if ur suggesting woman parts r not the only thing that make a real woman. I’m a believer in god. And I believe god loves us all regardless of our faults and our ideas. And I have gay&lesbian friends whom I love just as much and some more than friends who are not and have no judgements about how people live because we are here to love and care for eachother. However this concept that our society has adapted of not being honest and straight forward in fear of hurting or offending feelings is pathetic. And that is part of the reason we have so many problems. There are some things that are black and white there are some things that are good and bad and there is no problem with being who u want to be but we have to realize that life doesn’t always go the way we want it outcomes aren’t always what we expected and that is what makes living so amazing and makes a person who they become. Sorry maybe I don’t make sense.

          • Hattori_HanSolo

            no, not much. in one sentence you’re saying that it’s irrelevant that someone who has undergone complete reassignment wants to compete in a pageant aimed at women’s beauty (not their vaginal competence), and in another you’re saying that you don’t judge how the GLBT community lives their lives.

            but, that’s EXACTLY what you were preaching against in your first reply to me. 

            if a transfemale who wasn’t reassigned tried to compete in the pageant i’m sure women like you would be raising more of a hellstorm than you are now because you’d say she “still as a penis”. and yet, this woman has been fully reassigned and you STILL have a problem. how exactly is her competing going to impede anything you’re doing with your life, again?

            i just feel that we are all…extremely lucky (so much so that we may not even realize it every waking moment of our lives) that we will hopefully never ever have to know what it feels like to be trapped inside the wrong gender. and how no matter how hard you try, and how you undergo painful social, psychological, and sometimes physical pain, and how you try and prove that you are who you are within, most people will never see you as more than an extension of the genitalia you were born with. i thank my stars as much as i possibly can that i never have to know what that feels like. 

            *side note* you’re right there IS a such thing as racial reassignment. i don’t have a problem with that either, if you feel like you want to be an asian woman who am i to judge. i’m not asian, and i’m not paying for it, either.

    • Lalatarea

      if she identifies herself as a woman and has gone through the surgery and/or lives her life as a woman then i see no problem with that. @jackie u can’t convince ppl like those who commented on ur post any differently which is sad. BOTTOM LINE if ur upset abt a made woman in the contest then u should also protest the women with the nose and the boobs etc done if not then ur a hypocrite sooo stfu

    • Kenedy

      A vagina isn’t the only thing that makes a woman…..hormones that are precursors to external & internal genitalia also make a woman. If a transgender stops receiving hormone therapy, they’ ll begin to look “manly” again. So my point is, surgery doesn’t truly turn a man into a woman, it never will.

  • Sassy

    This is the result of PC gone wrong . . ., we are one step away from include gay men in  women’s beauty pageant. After all, most of them act feminine and see themselves as ‘women’. SMH

    • Dreama41

      Sassy i absolutely agree with you. I give it another year or two. This world as really gone mad.

    • gender identity and sexuality are two different things…..*facepalm*

  • Nikkita Michelle

    The world has gone and lost its mind.  Cutting off the genitalia that God gave you and shoving it inside your body so that you can have a doctor create some man made lady parts does not make you a female.  There are several beautiful cross dressers and transgender people out there.  I’m sure they have a contest that Jenna can compete in and win hands down.  It’s hard enough being a woman without having to compete with unaturally born women.

    •  I am with you all the way Nikkita Michelle we are all going to hell in a hand basket if we keep allowing things that are unnatural to be when it’s far from reality! If these ppl want to live in their made up Fantasy Worlds they need to go the whole 9yrds and do just that create a new world for ppl like themselves instead of trying to impose their way of life or point of views on those of us who will tell them what God love the truth! Just because he got a darn sex change clearly does not I repeat does not make him a woman! I have no problem with Transgender, Gay or any other group of ppl who do things different than me but to say they have a right now that’s a whole nother thing! I am a firm believer in Letting them come out so I know to stay in but all this extra shyt they really do need to stop it!

    • Akosua123

      amen sister amen!

    • seek2027

      so true this is so nasty this is a man who had his body parts changed that does not make him a woman

    • seek2027

      So tru this is wrong on so many levels what is the world coming to