Transgender gets approval to compete for Miss Universe

Miss Canada Jenna Talackova

LOS ANGELES — A boy who became a girl got her wish to compete for title of hottest woman on the planet after Donald Trump said she could compete for Canada’s spot in the Miss Universe pageant.

Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization, issued a statement Tuesday wishing Jenna Talackova “the best of luck in her quest for the crown.” The statement came the same day that Talackova and her attorney Gloria Allred urged the organization to clarify its gender requirements.

The organization said it actually made the decision Monday to let the 23-year-old Talackova compete in the 2012 competition to become Canada’s contestant.

Jenna Talackova, left, who advanced to the finals of the Miss Canada competition, part of the Miss Universe contest, who was recently forced out of the competition, arrives with her attorney Gloria Allred at a news conference in Los Angeles Tuesday, April 3, 2012. Talackova says she was forced out of the competition because Pageant officials alleged she was not "a naturally-born female." Photo: Reed Saxon / AP

The organization said Talackova could enter the pageant “provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions.” No further details were provided.

Earlier Tuesday, Talackova and her attorney Gloria Allred urged the organization to clarify its position, and displayed a copy of Talackova’s passport, which lists her as female, as do her birth certificate and driver’s license.

Talackova, a Vancouver resident, underwent a sex change four years ago after being born a male.

Her sex change initially led organizers in Canada to disqualify her from the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant in May, citing a rule that she must be “naturally born” a woman.

Talackova pleaded with the pageant’s leaders to drop the rule.

“I am a woman,” Talackova said Tuesday. “I was devastated, and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust. I have ever asked for any special consideration. I only wanted to compete.”

Talackova and Allred urged Trump to state that she can vie to represent Canada in the Miss Universe contest if she wins the Canadian contest. They also called on him to eliminate the rule.

“I do not want any other woman to suffer the discrimination that I have endured,” Talackova said.

In response, the pageant organizers issued a statement saying “Gloria Allred’s statements to the press today pay no mind to the fact that Mr. Trump and the Miss Universe Organization made the fair and just decision in allowing Jenna to compete in the Miss Universe 2012 Canada pageant.”

It also said it’s evaluating its rules to ensure that type of issue does not occur again.

“There is no need to further `evaluate’,” Allred responded late Tuesday. “The rule is blatantly discriminatory and it is time for Mr. Trump to say that he will get rid of the rule.”

The rule requiring a contestant to be “naturally born female” appears to still be in effect in other countries around the world, Allred said.
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This article was written and provided by The Associated Press Wire.  (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)



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