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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