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Miss Universe drops transgender woman for not being ‘naturally born’

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

VANCOUVER, B.C. — A beauty pageant contestant has been disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition after the organizers discovered that she had undergone surgery to become a woman. Pageant organizers said that according to official rules, each contestant must be a “naturally born female.”

Jenna Talackova

Jenna Talackova, a 23-year-old transgender woman, had reached the finals of the Miss Vancouver competition, but was ousted from the competition because organizers said she lied about having undergone sexual reassignment surgery and did not meet requirements for the pageant.

“All I can say is that they disqualified me because I am not ‘natural born,’” Talackova said Friday in an email to the Vancouver Sun. “(That) doesn’t make sense because since I was conscious I always felt this way.”

Talackova told the Sun she has identified as female since age four, began hormone therapy at 14 and had sex reassignment surgery in 2010.

According to a statement issued Friday by the Miss Universe Canada organization, Talackova “did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form.”

“As with any competition, the Miss Universe pageant has rules which apply to all of its franchises around the world. Such rules include, but are not limited to, citizenship, age, and marital status requirements. Additionally, the rules currently state that all contestants must be naturally born females,” the Miss Universe Organization said.

CNN noted that those rules are not specifically mentioned on the Miss Universe website.

Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesman for the LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, called the decision unfair and unnecessary.

“Jenna is a woman,” he said. “She presents as a woman, she lives as a woman, and that’s all that matters.”

“Any term that separates her from any other woman is demeaning,” Cole-Schwartz added.

Rory Richards, a spokeswoman for the 23-year-old Vancouver resident, said Talackova will not be able to talk to reporters pending possible legal action.

The Miss Universe Canada pageant is a franchise licensed by the Miss Universe Organization, headed by U.S. business magnate Donald Trump.

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85 more reader comments:

  1. Fucked up shit.!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:14pm
  2. What a bunch of jerks….should let her compete!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:15pm
  3. Why do people like this? Grrrr…

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:15pm
  4. Fuck the haters.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:15pm
  5. Transgender people are just as beautiful/handsome as bio people.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:16pm
  6. oh my gosh that is soo fucked up..!
    i would let her continue if she made it that far..

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:16pm
  7. Question: Do they allow women who have under gone surgery to “amplify” their looks to compete? If they do, this is BS. If they don’t, it is only fair.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:16pm
  8. Stupid.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:17pm
  9. I don’t wanna fuck the haters, I might get a disease :c

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:17pm
  10. Miss Universe is a bitch! Shes just jealous cause the trans woman is more beautiful than her.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:18pm
  11. Sadly, but not surprisingly, they are discriminating against trans women and a lot of other women, based on parental status and other factors. Discrimination is discrimination but apparently you can sometimes get away with it.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:18pm
  12. That woman deserves to win

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:19pm
  13. I think she should be applauded for having gotten that far!! a groundbreaker

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:19pm
  14. Well think about it.. In RuPaul’s Drag Race, you can’t be a transgender man to qualify. So I guess the same rules apply.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:20pm
  15. Lesbians and gays are getting alot of attention… More and more ppl are learning to accept who we are… Bt a bigger crisis is in frnt of us and as a community and nation we need to stand up for transgenders and shed light on the cruelty & inequality ..

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:23pm
  16. oh yeah Jamie Gardner is one of them she is a pretty transgender person

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:24pm
  17. she’s a female now! Let her be a contestant! Bloody hell!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:24pm
  18. Hopefully she’ll take legal matters and be able to continue or try again. She is one of the sexiest women I’ve ever seen, and I don’t like blondes. xD

    If you follow the link, the button is not “liking” it’s recommending it… People get upset about that with every story and it’s unnecessary.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:24pm
  19. Why? Because ‘he’ may make a prettier woman than the woman? He’s not a man anymore. He should sue.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:26pm
  20. She is a natural born woman…inside where it counts. I’m not a big beauty pageant fan but they should let this woman back in. She deserves it!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:27pm
  21. Two words— Donald Trump!!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:27pm
  22. I’m far more concerned about the price of gasoline… this is just not Anything of interest to me!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:28pm
  23. nope…she is still a man on the inside….DNA!!!! i

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:30pm
  24. In RuPaul’s show, it is to become or recognized as a top performer. As far as a transgender woman, the surgery is to confirm who you are already; to bring out the person you are on the inside, so that people will know you. Same rules would not apply; she is a woman, not a man and a very courageous woman, at that!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:30pm
  25. Matthew you’re a tool.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:30pm
  26. she deserves to compete of all the obsticles and challenges she has overcome it dont make sense why she cant compete she may have been born a he but she knows WHO SHE IS and always has been

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:31pm
  27. all the surgeries and hormones, can make her look and act like a woman, but biologically she is still a man..

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:31pm
  28. Do the competition organisers also exclude women who were born by caesarian? They’re not “naturally born” either. If someone is legally a woman and is excluded on irrelevant historical information, she should file a legal challenge.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:31pm
  29. So, Chuck, why comment at all? Just askin’

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:32pm
  30. Trans women have had to take on sports authorities to particiate at Olympic level, and they’ve won. A beauty competition should find it easier to recognise trans women as there is no suggestion that previous muscle development might enhance beauty is there?

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:33pm
  31. So messed up shes a women now. That’s all that matters. That’s sexist to only let natural born women in… i agree with Ashley she is really sexy and o don’t like blondes either.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:33pm
  32. how many pageant contestants would test for genetic abnormalitys Im sure many are not all perfect geneticly there are genetic women born with internal testicals oh sure they look female enough but are unable to have children!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:33pm
  33. personally i think all that means is that she should be commended even more and praised for looking better then the “natural born” women because she had to work harder for it!! she should get 2 awards :D

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:34pm
  34. I honestly think comments should be disabled if possible. If you don’t have anything nice to say about the transgender community, don’t say anything at all or STFU!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:34pm
  35. Many thousands of women around the world suffer from a disorder known as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), or in old text books as Testicular Feminisation Syndrome. The syndrome is of great interest because it conclusively proves (though perhaps still not to some judges and lawyers) that women can have XY genes, a fact which has considerable significance for genetically XY Male-to-Female (MTF) transsexuals.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:35pm
  36. If the women already in the contest have breast implants and nose jobs, I don’t see why a transgender woman can’t compete…. just my opinion.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:38pm
  37. To Matthew McIlnay, I urge you to read a book on genetics, because you made yourself seem very foolish for a blatant mistruth you just spouted as fact. Please educate yourself before trying to educate others. On the issue at hand — if the contest allows women with plastic surgery to compete, then this lovely young lady should as well. If the rules prohibit anyone who has undergone reconstructive surgery from participating, that would incude her.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:38pm
  38. Naturally born??? Jenna is a stunning beauty, and if your going to go there .. Then All of them need to stand on that stage as they were born … no fake hair / body paint/ makeup/ breast implants no airbrushing … Period . beauty pageants are Creepy any way … women walking on a stage like they are nothing more than cattle

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:38pm
  39. Hot damn that’s a sexy transexual

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:39pm
  40. Matthew McIlnay your an arsehole

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:40pm
  41. a beauty pagent shud b jus that an if a man dressed in drag wins i dont think its fair to strip him of the crown, i jus think thats a crazy rule someone has to b a “naturally born female”… who says “are u a naturally born male/female” i think ur rite Linda that sounds like somethin them 2words wud add,lol

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:41pm
  42. I’m sick off all the “haters” in the world. Why can’t society just live and let live.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:41pm
  43. AND if the woman in the picture is the one they’re talking about… YOWZA! hot hot hot! I’b turn lesbian for that lol <3 She should be proud either way.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:41pm
  44. They need to change the rules. I think every little boy should be able to grow up knowing she can be President or Miss America or Bishop of New Jersey.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:42pm
  45. This is just plain ignorance :(

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:48pm
  46. Its just stupid. She should not be disqualified because of her being a transsexual. A transsexual woman is a woman point blank. People really need to be educated on different people and situations. This is 2012 not the dark ages.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:48pm
  47. Luckily she lives in Canada, so she has the upper hand.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:51pm
  48. She made that far.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:51pm
  49. It’s a beauty pageant…when do those celebrate “natural” anything?

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:52pm
  50. bigots.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:56pm
  51. Jenny Chewning, correction “hot damn thats a sexy WOMAN” transexual/transgender is just the name of the disorder not the bloody person

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5:57pm
  52. SOOOOOOOO dislike!!! that is unbelievable!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:01pm
  53. o be damn! …she gorgeous

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:02pm
  54. I’m SOOOOOOO confused!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:05pm
  55. She’s gorgeous! they’re just jealous cuz half the other women probly don’t look that good! seriously though, i think this is ridiculous. She is clearly all woman, it shouldn’t matter what body she was born into.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:11pm
  56. So fucking what. Is she a female? Then she should be able to participate.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:13pm
  57. This is so discriminatory against transgendered individuals, her legal gender is Female and the only reason she was disqualified is because of surgery, which is complete bullshit, they have no grounds to disqualify her.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:27pm
  58. She was born in Kenya too?

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:34pm
  59. Beauty is beauty, and she’s that and so much more.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:36pm
  60. It is comepletely discriminatory. If she is disqualified for altering her body then all of those contestants should be disqualified. You know all those “beauty” queens have had some kind of nip and tuck or lift.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:36pm
  61. p.r.e.d.j.u.d.i.c.e….

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:40pm
  62. Well, I think it’s kind of sad, but I’m pretty sure that the rules state that you must be a female. I do believe that you are whatever gender you choose to be, but not everyone believes this.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:52pm
  63. She’s beautiful the way she is… Some people are just jealous because she looks better than their wives. Paha

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:56pm
  64. I covered this one last night She is a woman!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:58pm
  65. And this is one thing that I don’t like about the LGBT community: Most of you seem to blindly defend other members. It borders on the ridiculous sometimes. I think we shouldn’t focus so much on gender, but the fact is that we do. This is a female exclusive competition, so we shouldn’t freak out because this M2F is getting the boot. She must have known at some point that she could have been found out.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 7:00pm
  66. I saw her picture, she’s gorgeous. Let her in, unless the other contestants don’t think they can measure up….

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 7:17pm
  67. We’re born with either male or female sex organs but our brain is our primary sex organ and it determines our sexuality.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 7:24pm
  68. @Matthew:
    We’re born with either male or female sex organs but our brain is our primary sex organ and it determines our sexuality. Her sexuality is female. She should be in the pageant, this is totally unfair.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 7:29pm
  69. @ Tara: She is legally a female. The proper gender is EVERYTHING that Transgender people strive to be. If LGBTQ Nation doesn’t support matters of gender discrimination for Transgender people, then WTF does the “T” in LGBTQ stand for – tolerance?

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 7:40pm
  70. @ Matthew McIlnay: Obviously, you’re under the bigoted delusion that the judges discern the winner by DNA samples. After all, Trump is a man of scientific thought just like you, apparently.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 7:45pm
  71. @Matthew McIlnay It’s pretty clear that you don’t know very much about this. I am sorry that someone has misinformed you about what it means to be transgendered, but please don’t come around here and spread that misinformation. Even if what you wrote was correct, which it isn’t in this country, it’s a beauty pageant not a dna pageant. Please try to learn about this; it will make your life and spirit better!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 7:57pm
  72. I think what people don’t understand is that Transgenderism isn’t a full Out community that Gay, Bi and Lesbian communities enjoy. Transgender people wish to fully integrate into the gender their mind is hard wired to be. I, myself, am a pre-op transgender woman M2F, and I tried my best for a good part of my life to be male, but I could not be, despite my male appearance. The times were different back then, and gender dysphoria was a foreign concept – still is in some respects.

    What upsets me about this case in point is that a biologically born woman could alter themselves to compete in a beauty contest, but someone who is not born physically female (enough) is disqualified on the grounds of surgery. Sometimes I feel there is little or no place for the transgendered and/or intersexed people. We don’t celebrate our dilemma because it is personal. We don’t carry pride in telling everyone that we are the way we are because we do want to be the physical gender we were born to. Our label makes us feel like we are perceived as less than the sex we are in our self image. And this kind of wicked discrimination is all too common. If woman of other races and of other sexual preferences can be celebrated as beautiful, let the transgender woman compete like any other woman, because she is a woman like all the other contestants.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 8:25pm
  73. If someone has undergone a sex change operation then they are Transsexual, not Transgender. I wish people would understand what it’s like to be trapped in a body that physically doesn’t match how they feel on the inside. I am not a Transsexual, but I can empathise with them.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 8:35pm
  74. Sure, this is a slap to the face of the LGBTQ culture, but this is a privately owned competition. She can’t do anything about it. The rules stated that transgender women can’t participate in the competition and she should have respected those rules. This is just another form of free speech and freedom to do as you will with your own property.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 8:50pm
  75. She is now biologically a female….and a very beautiful one at that. To say they need to be naturally born a female means nothing. How about the naturally born females who compete that have work done whether it be implants, tummy tucks or the like. If you look at it in that light, sure they were naturally born a female but no longer with what they were born with. To say they can compete and not her is clearly discriminatory!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 9:05pm
  76. Look at the end of the article…..D. Trump …..he’s the reason.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 9:12pm
  77. totally unfair .. not a reason

    Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 2:06am
  78. @Brandon Twilley, she is legaly female it shouldnt matter, like i said before transgender/transexual is only the medical term its not a gender

    Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 2:49am
  79. they r just jealous cuz she looks better than all of them

    Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 3:17am
  80. :(

    Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 3:58am
  81. any beuty pageant encourages exactly this kind of mentality.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 4:43am
  82. You know she’s not the only woman in the pageant with fake titts so if they want to make rules up about having to be a NATURAL born woman then maybe they shouldn’t allow women who have had nose jobs, boobs jobs, and ass jobs into the pageant at all because that would make it even more fair don’t you think? Otherwise, it’s entirely irrational to kick her out for being “unnatural.” She makes a hotter woman than most women do so why is it a big deal? -___-

    Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 6:50am
  83. Soo close minded!! Haters

    Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 8:33am
  84. Miss Universe and other pageants like it are blatantly sexist anyway, steeped in traditional gender roles and catering to the male gaze. Why participate in and support an organisation that promotes such archaic patriarchal ideals?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 10:29am
  85. here here, Sylvia – agree 100%

    Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 11:03am