Miss Universe Disqualifies Transgender Contestant

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?


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    • Casey

      To compete in Miss Universe or any preliminary to the Miss Universe pageant, one must be a “natural-born female.” She lied on her application. I have nothing but respect for the transgender community, but those are the rules that are stated on the application.

      Miss Canada Universe accepts “at-large” contestants, which means that if you meet the minimum requirements and pay an entrance fee, you can compete. She didn’t have to win anything to be named a “finalist,” so as long as she got refunded her entrance fee, I see nothing discriminatory with excluding her from the competition until the rules are changed.

    • Sam

      The point is that the rules desperately NEED to be changed; being recognized as a female (not that I even really dig having to recognize gender) legally should be enough.

      Although, again, not that I even really dig beauty competitions.

    • K

      Why anyone watches that nonsense anymore is beyond me.