In this case, Jenna Talackova simply wants to compete for a Miss Universe title, which is the epitome of femininity, above all other competitions aside from child pageants of course. The authorities that preside over Miss Universe rules & regulations stated that the reason for the original disqualification was that in the case of the question, “Were you born a female?” Talackova was dishonest. How ironic that this question exists on an application for a competition that focuses on outward appearance and image. What difference does it make if you were born female if you fit the beauty queen profile in every other way? Why would this question be included other than to discriminate against transgender individuals? I think that questions specifically used to discriminate send a horrible message to young people that are currently facing the challenge of identifying their true self, whatever that may be, whether born male or female. Are those involved in beauty pageants overly concerned about transgender women outshining women or do they have limits on the illusion that they wish to present the public. Breast augmentation and rhinoplasty are acceptable surgeries but sex-reassignment surgery is a no-no. Where contestants are judged primarily on external beauty let it just be about that, what is presented on the outside should be primary concern in this case.
The pressure from the public in support of Talackova forced the panel to reconsider and as of today she will be competing in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant since the only solid requirements are Canadian citizenship and those who fall between eighteen & twenty-seven years of age. Young transgender people facing the challenges of growing up and finding acceptance may have someone to look up to as a role model especially if Talackova wins Miss Universe. As a feminist, I often question why beauty pageants are still in existence but I recognize that what is in question here is not whether they should exist at all so I will save that for a future post. The question here encompasses tolerance or inclusiveness within traditional gender-roles and if we as a society are willing to accept diversity. In this case, since it is Canada we see an openness that may not be paralleled in other less progressive countries but can serve as a model for future pageants and conversations.