Miss Universe Disqualifies Transgender Contestant

By Jennifer Abbey

Mar 26, 2012 1:12pm
gty jenna talackova tk 120326 wblog Miss Universe Disqualifies Transgender Contestant

                                                                   Christophe Archeambault/AFP/Getty Images

Jenna Talackova is everything you think of when you hear the words “beauty queen.” With her bright smile, flowing blonde hair and viciously long legs, you can’t deny she’s stunning.

But Talackova, 23, has been disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition because she was born a male, according to CTV. Talackova was originally selected as one of 65 finalists for the Donald Trump-owned competition. Her profile and photos have since been pulled from the Miss Universe Canada website.

“Jenna Talackova from Vancouver, British Columbia will not compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition because she did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form,” Miss Universe Canada said in a statement Friday. “We do however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best.”

The Miss Universe Canada website states that to enter, women must be a Canadian citizen and between the ages of 18 and 27. If basic requirements are met, they are asked to fill out a longer application form. The form does not mention any rules against sexual reassignment surgery. A representative for the Miss Universe Canada did not respond to request for comment.

Denis Davila, the national director of Miss Universe Canada, told CTV, “she was dishonest.” Talackova was disqualified after she admitted her birth gender last week.

“We have to have the facts straight. There is no discrimination here at all,” Davila said. “You can look at it the way she wants to look at it, but we all have to follow the same rules.”

“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,” Talackova said in a statement to CTV Sunday.

Talackova could not be reached by ABC News for comment.

The blonde beauty has not tried to hide her past. In a 2010 YouTube video for Miss International Queen, a transgender/transsexual competition in which Talackova was a contestant, she states that she began hormone therapy at age 14. At 19, she had sexual reassignment surgery.

A petition has been started on Change.org asking Miss Universe Canada to “reverse the unfair disqualification of Jenna Talackova.” The petition currently has more than 20,000 signatures.

Other fans have flocked to Facebook and Twitter to express their feelings over Talackova’s disqualification.

“Disgraceful. This is flat-out discrimination,” one fan commented on the Miss Universe Canada Facebook page.

“@JennaTalackova should NOT have been disqualified from @MissUniverse! Beautiful is beautiful. Down with discrimination,” one fan tweeted.

But reactions to Talackova’s story have been mixed.

“If she never stated on her application such detail, I support this decision,” one Facebook user posted to the Miss Universe Canada page.

This isn’t the first time a transgender woman has been disqualified from a competition. In 1976, Renèe Richards, a professional American tennis player who had sexual reassignment surgery to make her a woman, was denied entry into the U.S. Open by the United States Tennis Association unless she agreed to chromosomal testing. The USTA cited an unprecedented, women-born-women policy. Richards took her case to the New York Supreme Court which ruled in her favor in 1977, allowing her to play as a woman.

The crown for Miss Universe Canada will be awarded May 19 in Toronto.

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