Jenna Talackova Calls for a More Inclusive Miss Universe Competition


by Matt Kane, GLAAD’s Associate Director of Entertainment Media
Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Following the announcement that the Miss Universe pageant would allow transgender contestant Jenna Talackova to compete, and that GLAAD would be working with Miss Universeto open the competition up to the transgender community, Talackova says she wants pageant owner Donald Trump to make sure “no one else has to suffer the discrimination I have had to endure.”  The statement was read at a press conference with Talackova’s attorney Gloria Allred in Los Angeles today.

Yesterday, GLAAD announced plans to continue working with The Miss Universe Organization to review current policies and update for full inclusion of transgender women.

GLAAD contacted the Miss Universe Organization last week after Jenna Talackova was disqualified and called on the Miss Universe Organization to review her case, as well as open the competition to transgender women.

Talackova’s full statement from today is as follows:

When I was selected as a finalist, I was thrilled.  I had always dreamed of being in the Miss Universe competition, and having an opportunity to represent my country, Canada.

After I was chosen for the finals, I was told that there was an issue that had arisen regarding my being a contestant, and that the final decision was going to be made by the Miss Universe organization.

Then I was told by representatives of the Miss Universe Canada Pageant that I could not compete, because the rule stated that I had to be a “naturally born” woman, and they said I was not.

I am a woman.  I was devastated and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust.

I have never asked for any special consideration.  I only wanted to compete.

I saw the statement by Mr. Trump’s representative that was issued yesterday, and I find it quite confusing.

I wish Mr. Trump would just say, in plain words, whether or not I will be allowed to compete and, if I win, whether I will be allowed to represent Canada in the Miss Universe competition.

I also want Mr. Trump to clearly state that this rule will be eliminated because I do not want any other woman to suffer the discrimination that I have to endure.

The Miss Universe Organization said in a statement last night:

“The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions.”

In speaking for her client, Allred reiterated that Trump and the Miss Universe pageant needed to clearly rewrite the competition rules to be inclusive of transgender contestants.   GLAAD’s VP of Programs and Communication Herndon Graddick said yesterday that “The Miss Universe Organization made the right decision (allowing Talackova to compete) and has taken an important first step.  Now, GLAAD urges the Organization to include all women and use the incident to speak out in support of the transgender community.”

Graddick continued: “So many women today do not have equal opportunities for employment, housing and safety simply because they are transgender. The Miss Universe Organization should look to state non-discrimination laws and institutions including the Olympics, NCAA and The CW’s America’s Next Top Model, which do not discriminate against transgender women.”

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition’s Executive Director Gunner Scott also released a statement about Talackova’s inclusion in the pageant today, attributing the victory to the advocacy work of groups like GLAAD and the MTPC, while also reminding readers that “this situation is not unlike discrimination in employment for transgender people. Many transgender youth and adults do not get the same opportunities, even when qualified, because of gender identity discrimination.”

4 Responses to “Jenna Talackova Calls for a More Inclusive Miss Universe Competition”

  1. mizknowitall Says:

    I find it rather telling that the statement made by GLAAD would include the word “use” when describing what their involvment in this is… Because for an organization which says that transsexual is a slur and that everone who is, or was is transgender, like it or not. That is exactly what they are doing to Ms. Talackova. They are using her to advance an agenda which if seen to fruition will mean she can never be what she is and claims to be, a woman…

    Ps, there is a difference between prudence in using a nom de plume and being chicken shit…

    • Suzan Says:

      Really? Hiding behind an alias is chickenshit when your isp address pops up with every post. I generally believe that in owning my own words and that means putting my own name on them. this includes owning my mistakes and being flexible enough to change my opinion if I come to think differently.

      BTW while I do not use the term transgender in reference to myself I am also aware that many post-op/post-transsexual people do choose to use the term transgender as is their right. I do not consider “transgender” problematic as a self-applied label, only as an imposed label.

      • mizknowitall Says:

        Setting aside the fact that you can only track back to me if I had a static IP addy, I don’t… The IP you have there is a temp that will only show where the phone is currently logged into the net which could be anywhere!

        Anyway, the question this raises is why do you feel I need to open my life to anyone and everyone just to have a voice? Am I only “valid” if I forgo any hope of a normal life as a normal woman? You say you’re not afraid of self examination, well that’s a pretty darn borg-ish sentiment isn’t it! You can identify anyway you want as long as it’s not straight and not binary? Look at how it has worked out for Ms Talackova! She has clearly said “I am a woman!” (Albeit one who VERY stupidly at 19 and fresh from srs shot herself in the foot with that Thai beauty contest!)

        So, is GLAAD saying that she is just a woman as she claims? Are they saying she has paid the price of admission and she should be accorded her due? Perish the thought! They and all the rest of the TG world are in a feeding frenzy to claim her as “one of us!” To them she is NOT a woman, she is a trans-woman, and she is never going to be free of it now! For the rest of her life, that beautiful woman is going to have to put up with idiots saying “Yeah, way! I’m telling you! That’s a dude!”

        To make it worse she will also now have hordes of folks who have next to nothing at all in common with her using her anyway damn they see fit just so they can validate themselves with their classic refrain, “I’m just like her.” So, if she has done everything humanly possible to correct her sex (not gender, her sex) and their doing so reduces her to a man in a dress? How can that be just?

        Look I do not want to throw anyone under the bus! You’re not the only hippy chick to survive the sixties ya know! Truth be known I kinda like gender fucking and folks that life off the grid socially! The androgny of the seventies was a good thing… But when it seems that our hand is forced because there is no dialogue and we are being erased as even possible, then sadly it does become them or us… And so, I chose us!

        • Suzan Says:

          If some one is okay with wearing the transgender label, it’s no skin off my butt if they wear it just so long as they don’t insist I wear it too.

          However, as the late Molly Ivins said, “You gotta dance with them that brung you.”

          When organizations like HRC, GLAAD and individuals like Phyllis Fry are the only ones out there supporting her with legal muscle it becomes strange not to dance with those supporters.

          As for your vaunted “normal life”. I lead an amazingly normal life in suburbia. I go to gun shows, am a regular at a couple of concert venues and several restaurants, not to mention the progressive political scene.

          I don’t wear a transsexual Menace t-shirt.

          But I have opinions and I blog. I recently discovered one of our other local citizens is the head of the D/FW Socialist Party. Do I know her? Prior to reading the article I didn’t have a clue and I doubt anyone else in our town does either.

          At the same time I am writing a memoir. If people choose to identify with my words, if my words resonate then I think that’s great.

          I’m well aware of the vast diversity of people who have at one time or other been labeled with what I describe as a trans-prefixed word. I am friend with some who would probably surprise regular readers of this blog who have formed opinions of me with out knowing me.

          I also get requests from non-trans organizations asking me to write about other discrimination issues. Including Muslim American and Feminist organizations as well as the usual cast of LGBT/T organizations.

          I still consider it extremely cowardly to voice strong opinions while hiding behind a hood, unless one is waging war against the rich and powerful, like Anonymous.

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