Jenna Talackova, the Miss Universe Canada contestant that was disqualified due to her transgender status and subsequently reinstated after much media and legal backlash, appeared on ABC‘s 20/20 last night.
In her first interview since being booted from the pageant, Talackova sat down with Barbara Walters to talk about growing up as a boy named Walter, undergoing hormone therapy, and sexual reassignment surgery:
“It was terribly painful, but seeing something on your body for that long and not being able to look at myself in the mirror because I couldn’t stand seeing the other part, it was actually very rewarding, too.”
Her mother, Myrtle Perry, and lawyer, Gloria Allred, were also interviewed for the program. Said Allred:
“What happened to Jenna is very, very important. The Miss Universe competition had the rule that a contestant had to be a naturally born female. That is a rule that is blatantly discriminatory. I am so proud of Jenna because she has fought to eliminate this rule.”
Talackova is embracing her new role as an advocate for transgender rights:
“If it’s helping anybody else – my story and my actions – then I feel great about it.”
Watch the full clip below: