The Donald Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant has clear rules that every contestant must be a "naturally born female." Although 23-year-old Jenna Talackova from Vancouver may look every inch the beauty queen, she failed to disclose on her application that she was in fact born male.
The Daily Telegraph
reported that Talackova began hormone therapy at 14 and underwent sexual reassignment surgery at 19. She said "I regard myself as a woman with a history."
According to CTV.CA
Talackova is expected to consult a lawyer, claiming discrimination. She issued a statement saying
"I will look to turn this situation into a positive so that other people in a similar situation are not discriminated against in the future."
Denis Davila, national director of Miss Universe Canada, says that Talackova was disqualified for breaking the contest rules, pointing out "She was dishonest." He went on to say
"It's really unfortunate that we had to pull her out of the competition … But the truth of the matter is that we have a set of rules that we must enforce," Davila said. We love Jenna. We embrace diversity. In Miss Universe Canada, we are all from different walks of life."
Talackova is receiving support from fans of beauty pageants and petitions have been set up to change the rules. One commentator wrote on Dear Pageant Girl
, "Since most beauty contestants have had surgery to enhance their appearance, transgenders are on an equal footing with them."