Miss Universe disqualifies transgender finalist
Andrew Weichel, ctvbc.ca
Published Friday, March 23, 2012 4:21PM PDT
Miss Universe Canada has confirmed that it disqualified a B.C. pageant finalist who was recently revealed to be transgender.
Vancouver resident Jenna Talackova made blog headlines last Tuesday when it was discovered that the 6-1 tall blond, who had been named among 65 Miss Universe Canada contenders, had undergone sexual reassignment surgery.
Her inclusion was applauded by many online but drew scorn from some who argued beauty pageants should be for "naturally born" women only -- language widely considered to be prejudiced and derogatory in the transgender community.
Within days, the 23-year-old's photos and profile were scrubbed from the Donald Trump-owned pageant's website.
Miss Universe Canada issued a statement Friday saying Talackova "did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form."
"We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best," it said.
The organization did not clarify what requirements Talackova failed to meet, and has not responded to requests for comment.
Talackova told ctvbc.ca Friday that she won't be speaking out about her situation until she consults a lawyer next week, but tweeted earlier in the day that she had been disqualified "over discrimination."
"I'm not giving up," she added in a follow-up message.
The pageant's contestants page still contains 65 profiles, suggesting Talackova's spot has already been filled by another woman.
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.
Facebook users posted messages of protest last Thursday on the official Miss Universe Canada group, urging the organization to allow Talackova to compete and questioning her sudden disappearance.
Talackova has previously represented Canada at Miss International Queen, a transsexual beauty pageant in Thailand, where she placed as a finalist.
In an interview posted on YouTube, she describes herself as having identified as a woman at four-years-old, beginning hormone therapy at 14. She had her reassignment operation at 19.