Miss Universe finalist dropped for being born male
A transgender beauty queen who was kicked out of the Miss Universe Canada pageant says she is a victim of discrimination.
Vancouver resident Jenna Talackova was one of 65 finalists to take part in the beauty contest, but was disqualified earlier this week after it was discovered she had undergone sexual reassignment surgery.
Denis Davila, the national director of Miss Universe Canada, says she was dropped from the competition because the rules state contestants must be "naturally born female" and that she lied on her application.
"We have to have the facts straight, there is no discrimination here at all," he said.
Talackova, a leggy 6-1 blond, disagrees and hopes something good can come out of her disqualification.
"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," she said in a statement to CTV News.
In a YouTube video, Talackova describes her process of physically becoming and identifying as a woman.
"I regard myself as a woman with a history," she said. "I always knew since I was about four, and I started my therapy and hormone therapy when I was 14. And then I went through the surgery when I was 19."
For transgender activist Marie Little, this case is less about rules and more about acceptance.
"Once upon a time, there were black baseball leagues and white baseball leagues. So why stick people into categories if they can compete against each other?" she asked.
Canadian beauty pageant officials say only those who run Miss Universe can change the rules.
Talackova's spot is already occupied by another competitor. She is now seeking legal advice before speaking further to the media.
More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition demanding Talackova be reinstated.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Bhinder Sajan