Transgender Beauty Queen Allowed to Compete in Canadian Miss Universe Pageant

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 Jenna Talackova, 23, knew she was a girl at the age of four. Can you remember being certain of anything when you were age four much less a sex that was opposite of what you were born into? Talackova started hormone therapy at fourteen and went through sex-reassignment surgery at nineteen. Therefore, she spent her entire youth transforming into what her brain told her she was. I can only imagine how incredibly difficult life would be if, in my case, I was born female but my brain was unaccepting of my biological make-up and I could not, would not, rest until I became male on the outside to match up on the inside.

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.

Article 1


Update 4/17/12

About Kris Rais

I have decided to start living instead of to merely exist after years of care giving. I am currently working towards my university degree and reaching higher consciousness through my practice of yoga.
This entry was posted in Body Image and Beauty, Transgender and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Transgender Beauty Queen Allowed to Compete in Canadian Miss Universe Pageant

  1. steph110604 says:

    I saw this on the today show. I wonder if Donald T. was just feeling the pressure so he caved in. I read the article on Yahoo and notice how a good majority of the comments are bad. Saying she shouldnt be able to be in the pageant. The comments were pretty mean. Just amazed me, I thought there would be more comments backing her up and being proud. Some say she was born a man and will always be that way no matter what. How it must be bad if there are no women hotter then a man from canada. I see no reason why she shouldn’t be able to join the pageant. Its 2012, we should stop judging others and start accepting that everyone is different.

    • I am not sure why Donald Trump made the decision to allow Jenna to compete but if I had to guess it was probably to avoid a law-suit or scandal. The negativity that has come from this is ignorance since Transgender individuals are not YET part of the mainstream. Many people just don’t get it nor do they want to. Barbara Walters is interviewing her Friday night on 20/20 and she will be on the View on Monday so she is getting a lot of exposure which is a good thing for her and the Transgender Queer community.

  2. lumosliz says:

    YESSSSSS! I remember when I brought this up in class when the originally weren’t going to let her compete. I’m so happy she can now. SHE BETTER WIN. Seriously, she is gorgeous. I’m sick of how closed minded people can be… I’m sure if they didn’t know she wasn’t born female so many more people would love her.

    • lumosliz says:

      But I feel like the pageant people saying “oh well since she didn’t put that she was born male she lied so it’s not our fault we just want our facts straight” is just a bunch of BS to cover their asses after the reaction that came when the disqualified her.

      • Yes, there was an out pouring of support for Jenna which may have been a surprise to pageant officials. I’m glad they were forced to rethink the rules and made the decision to allow transgender women compete.

  3. jraez says:

    I totally agree with your comment about the pageant being an outward beauty contest. I know some former beauty queens would disagree and say that it is an inward contest as well because of the question and answer section. But really, when you are required to prance around a stage in a bikini and heels so they can judge you “fitness,” its hard to maintain that this is an intellectual contest as well. Were you born a woman seems like a strange question to even ask. I wonder what happened for the officials to put this question on the application. I’m interested to see what Jenna does after this pageant. I hope that she will become a speaker/educator or something so she can get her story out. I also wonder what her reaction is to her past coming out. If she lied about it from the start I wonder if she was embarrassed or just didn’t want people to know. Either way I am interested in her reaction to her past being broadcast around the world.

    • Kris Rais says:

      When they eliminate the evening gown and swimsuit part of the pageant then I may consider that it is not about how one looks on the outside but I do not foresee that happening any time soon. The questions posed are not difficult questions if you read the newspaper at all. Not really academic questions, per say, more current event type. I added an updated article to my post. I think she feels that she is a woman and has every right to compete so she signed up and pushed the boundaries. Jenna actually made history by doing just that. Who knows what this will bring. I too am interested to see what the future has in store. Thanks :)

  4. tatumk says:

    I think it is extremely brave of her to compete and to be so open with who she is. She should be allowed to compete just because she wasn’t born physically as a female, that is who she feels she is and that is the way she looks on the outside. It is wrong of the pageant committee to disqualify her just because she was not born physically as a female.

  5. Kris Rais says:

    They are allowing Jenna to compete for Canada’s Miss Universe. They eliminated the requirement of having to be born a female because she has all the necessary documents that legally make her a woman, including a birth certificate. I posted an update article within the post. Thanks :)

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