Trump: Transgender beauty queen stays

2012-04-04 09:08
Los Angeles - Businessman Donald Trump has overturned a decision by the Miss Universe organisation, which he owns, to disqualify a Canadian transgender beauty pageant contestant because she is not a "naturally born" female.

Jenna Talackova, a tall blonde who underwent gender-reassignment surgery at age 19 and holds legal documents affirming her identity as a woman, wants pageant organisers to go further and drop eligibility rules she calls discriminatory.

Talackova, 23, was kicked out of the Miss Universe Canada competition on Friday after she was selected as one of 65 finalists. The winner of that contest, who ultimately will be crowned on May 19 in Toronto, will go on to represent Canada in the global Miss Universe Pageant later in the year.

In throwing her out, pageant organisers accused Talackova of having "falsified her application when she said she was born female," adding that the Miss Universe Organisation "has rules which apply to all of its franchises around the world."

Her disqualification sparked commentary on the internet and cable television news shows about the boundaries of gender identification, civil liberties and the rights of private organisations to set their own rules.

Talackova, who carries a Canadian passport, driver's license and birth certificate that all identify her as a woman, appeared on Tuesday with Los Angeles-based attorney Gloria Allred, a high-profile legal advocate for women's causes, demanding to be allowed back into the contest.

'I was devastated'

"I am a woman. I was devastated and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust," Talackova said in a statement she read to reporters.

She and Allred also called for the Miss Universe organisation to abolish its rule requiring contestants to be "naturally born" females. Allred called it "an antiquated rule grounded in prejudice, fear and stereotypes.

"It isn't just about her being able to compete," Allred said. "Jenna is standing up for others as well as herself. She doesn't want this type of discrimination to be faced by anyone else."

But by then, pageant organisers had already reversed course on Talackova's eligibility at the behest of Trump, who is president and owner of the Miss Universe organisation.

"As long as she meets the standards of legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, which we understand that she does, Jenna Talackova is free to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant," said Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump and executive vice president of his business group.

Best of luck

"Nobody is capitulating. Rather the Miss Universe organisation is respecting the laws of Canada," Cohen told Reuters, adding that she, "like all the other contestants, is wished the best of luck by Mr Trump."

He also said, "Assuming she wins, she would be the representative of that country (Canada)" in the larger Miss Universe Pageant.

Reached in a separate telephone interview, a Miss Universe spokesperson, Brenda Mendoza, agreed, saying that "if (Talackova) were to win the (Canadian) title, she would move on to the global telecast."

As to demands that the pageant do away with its naturally born female requirement for eligibility, Cohen was non-committal.

"At this point in time, the Miss Universe Organisation, along with its counsel, is taking this issue under advisement," he said.


  • stoute.babuseng - 2012-04-04 09:24

    Well done Sir, i wish there were more people like you

  • lwando.poni - 2012-04-04 09:52

    Lol, mxim! bored people

      richard.hipkin - 2012-04-04 13:52

      No, people standing up for human rights, something lost on you?

  • Tracy - 2012-04-04 10:04

    Surely if you had any form of beauty enhancing surgery you shouldn't be allowed to compete. Otherwise there's going to be a whole load of unnatural beauties. You can see those puppies aren't real. It shouldn't be allowed.

      Leon - 2012-04-04 11:45

      As n gay person I have to say I agree with your point Tracy

  • ludlowdj - 2012-04-04 10:38

    I don't know any men who would take the news that their wives, girlfriends or lovers were once men very well. Looks like the pageant is on the slippery slope to obscurity, well in my house anyway.

  • Stephen - 2012-04-04 10:39

    The prize should go to the best plastic surgeon

  • yvonnerichardsvandijk - 2012-04-04 11:16

    So now God did not know what He was doing when this boy was born? Really? God makes mistakes? Whatever next!!!!! Well, to each his/her own. Just my thought on the matter.... God is never wrong and God does not makes mistakes and Heaven help the person/s who thinks He does... don't want to be in their shoes one day because just maybe God will make another mistake and not welcome them into Heaven.... oh ooops.

      Richard - 2012-04-04 12:46

      I agree with your statement that God doesn't make mistakes, however nobody understands the mercy of God ... that includes you. Don't point fingers and judge who or what will or won't be allowed into the kingdom of heaven.... be CHRISTLIKE and stop trying to be Christ, he will judge not you.

      hanno.vanhelsdingen - 2012-04-04 14:50

      Do not make these kind of remarks. Please do not speak on behalf of God as if you know everything. I've learned long ago that a Christian should not speak a lot but rather act in love and kindness towards all humans. God did the same when he was on earth. Remember....? He interacted with sinners (whores and thieves) and showed them the right path with his actions and not his wrath. Fact is! We do not know for sure what God will decide. Live your life the way you think and stop judging people. Nobody has the right.

      Jessica - 2012-04-10 18:16

      Its normally the pseudo christians who has the most to say about God's love. They make a mock of Christs and then non believers judge all Christians on this basis. Shame on you yvonnerichardsvandijk. Rather take the beam out of your eye before you try and take the splinter out of some else eye

  • Dakey - 2012-04-04 13:12

    It is simply a legal matter. He/She will not win Miss Canada and will never be heard from again. The Miss Universe pagent will try to modify its legal regulations (if possible) to exclude any future transgender contestants. If this isn't possible they'll simply ask for a birth certificate and discriminate on this basis. This has little to do with ethics and more to do with marketing and business, which is why Trump agreed to let him/her back into the pagent. I think straight white blokes should enter Mr Gay SA, Mr Black SA and then sue that they're being discriminted against because of their sexual orientation/skin. While we're at it, lets enter Miss SA, willy and all and claim we're woman at heart. Moral of the story, stay away from 6"1 beauty contestants!

  • bashin.monyela - 2012-04-04 17:03

    But this guy is cheating, fake boobs, fake nose. etc who can compete with that?

      veritas.odium.paret - 2012-04-04 20:19

      It's no different from an athlete taking performance enhancers.

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