Update: Miss Universe to allow trans woman back into pageant

Previously disqualified contestant, Jenna Talakova, will be allowed back into the international pageant according to a statement released late last night by the Miss Universe Organization.

In the statement, the Miss Universe Organization said Ms. Talackova can compete, provided “she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions.” The statement, however, did not elaborate on what the requirements were.

Ms. Talackova was one of 65 finalists selected to compete for the title of Miss Universe Canada, with the ultimate goal of representing her country in the international Miss Universe pageant.

But having been accused of lying about having had sexual reassignment surgery, the pageant authorities told her did not meet requirements for the pageant. One of those requirements was supposedly, “being a naturally born female.”

As Jos reported last week, Ms. Talackova’s trans status wasn’t something she hid. She took place in Miss International Queen, a trans beauty pageant in Thailand.  But  the blogosphere started discussing her gender history a few weeks ago, which led to her disqualification:

National director of Miss Universe Canada Denis Davila told the Toronto Star that while they consider Talackova to be a “real girl,” Miss Universe rules stipulate that contestants must be a “naturally born female.”

Now, I’m no supporter of Donald Trump (who owns the Miss Universe pageant), and I’m not really a supporter of beauty pageants (though I think they are complicated), but I firmly believe that spaces for women should be spaces for all women, including trans women. I’ll take it one step further — if she decides to re-enter the pageant after all this, I really hope Jenna Talackova wins.

Pic via.

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10 Comments

  1. Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    “Miss Universe rules stipulate that contestants must be a ‘naturally born female’”

    Except she was born a female. A female in a man’s body. At least, that’s what I understand trans gender to be.

    • Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Normally a statement like that is talking about biological sex though, not gender. Gender as we know is not necessarily fixed, but your biological sex is. I guess it isn’t clear what the intent was but absent clarification the rule usually refers to sex not gender.

  2. Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m really glad to hear this, though I’m concerned that the Miss Universe organization may already be looking for excuses to disqualify Jenna Talackova again – and if not her, then future transgender contestants. Their statement on the subject included the kind of wishy-washy language about ‘international standards’ and ‘gender recognition’ that I expect from an organization that’s not really committed to trans inclusion.

  3. Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    Well, you could have done a post on the gender identity nondiscrimination bill in Canade that would render situations like this moot, and not just for the attractive-enough-by-cis-standards-to-be-in-beauty-pageants few, which is being pretty much ignored in the press. Or you could have posted about the German trans girl who just lost her appeal and is now about to be subjected to truly horrific abuses of her human rights.

    But, you know. Beauty pageants. Gotta prioritize.

    • Posted April 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Exactly what Boo said. Im sorry but I’m not going to celebrate/fight for inclusion in fucked institutions and practices. Im not going to celebrate women being CEO’s given them the right to oppress the poor. Im not going to celebrate lgb people being allowed to serve in the military and carry out US hegemony/imperialism. I am not going to celebrate or fight for trans women being included in a fucked practice like beauty pagents that send the message to women and young girls that their worth is dependent on how good they look in a bakini. Trans women have to face far more pressing issues like access to housing and discrimination in the work place. Thats something I would get behind but a beauty pagent? Is this really the state of the feminist movement? Sad.

      • Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Trans women have to face far more pressing issues like access to housing and discrimination in the work place.

        Why are you talking about housing discrimination when there are people out there who don’t even have houses or food or shoes or computers to log on to the Internet and spout off the better ways that an oppressed trans woman should prioritize her oppression because a privileged cisgender woman says so? [/snark]

        • Posted April 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

          Well said! We should be willing to support each other on making every aspect of the world equal, not just what individuals see fit to change! Feminism should be about the right to choice for everyone, not about restricting the options of what women should or shouldn’t be taking part in.

        • Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          “and spout off the better ways that an oppressed trans woman should prioritize her oppression because a privileged cisgender woman says so? “- Sorry if I think a beauty pagent is a little low on the list of priorties. Again you want to join a fucked up institution/practice that perpetuates oppression fine but dont expect me to jump up and down about it. “…Feminism should be about the right to choice for everyone”- thats the problem with third wave, liberal feminism. The focus is so much on the individual it fails to combat larger systems of oppression. Again a womans “choice” to be a CEO leads to the oppression of poor men and women. A gay persons “choice” to join the military means serving an imperialist nation that oppresses those the world over.

          “Understand: the task of an activist is not to negotiate systems of power with as much personal integrity as possible–it’s to dismantle those systems.”
          Lierre Keith

          • Posted April 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            Sorry if I think a beauty pagent is a little low on the list of priorties.

            Why should a trans woman take the priorities of a privileged cisgender woman into consideration?

  4. Posted April 14, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    I think its stupid that she was disqualified in the first place, I mean she met the legal gender requirements of Canada. I think it is such a dumb rule that that you have to be a “naturally born woman” to be in the pageant, and I agree with you 100% Brittany! She was a natural born woman, just in a mans body.

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