As if beauty pageants couldn’t be more antiquated and embarrassing, Miss Universe Canada has gone and made all the others look downright progressive after disqualifying 23-year-old finalist Jenna Talackova this week. The problem? It was revealed that the 6′-1” blonde had undergone sexual reassignment surgery some five years before. Within days of the revelation, Talackova’s photos and profile were removed from the Miss Universe website.
Organizers of the Donald Trump-owned pageant haven’t fully explained why they ejected the Vancouver resident, though they have released a statement saying that she did not “meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form.” It ends with the impressively patronizing kiss-off, “We do, however, respect her goals [and] determination.” Talackova, for her part, is consulting a lawyer over what looks like a mess of discrimination.
Before anyone goes trolling in the comment thread about how Miss Universe is “called MISS Universe,” let’s get a look at the application. According to CTV, “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” (and well, it couldn’t, for obvious reasons). Moreover, in Canada, Talackova is legally recognized as a woman; having started hormone therapy at fourteen and undergone sexual reassignment surgery at nineteen.
Talackova had been named one of 65 competitors for the title of Miss Canada–a finalist. If she can place, why can’t she compete?