Miss Universe Canada Disqualifies Transgender Contestant

In a truly shameful move, Miss Universe Canada disqualified 23-year-old finalist Jenna Talackova this week when the Vancouver resident’s transgender status was revealed.

Based on the information that has been reported so far, this seems like a case of egregious discrimination, however it remains to be seen whether the pageant had any legal right to boot Talackova from the competition. As CTV News explains:

“The Miss Universe Canada application indicates contestants must be Canadian citizens between the ages of 18 and 27 to compete. It says nothing about having undergone cosmetic surgery.”

The pageant has not released the exact reason for Talackova’s ejection, only that she “did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form.” We find it hard to believe that the requirements explicitly state contestants need to be born with female anatomy, and in Canada Talackova is legally recognized as a woman. In a YouTube video, Talackova describes having identified as a girl since age 4, starting hormone therapy at 14, and undergoing sexual reassignment surgery at 19. She says she regards herself as “a woman with a history”.

Perhaps the pageant should take a page from Tyra Banks‘s book. Miss Universe Canada began the same year as America’s Next Top Model, and yet the latter competition has not only encouraged transgender women to compete, but recently crowned one such contestant, Isis King, with the All Stars title.

The pageant concluded their statement with a rather unsatisfactory send-off:

“We do, however, respect her goals [and] determination.”

Just not her identity, apparently.


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