When Ashley reported last week that Miss Universe Canada had disqualified finalist Jenna Talackova because they discovered that she was born male, I sensed it might be a good opportunity to challenge the rules of that backwards, antiquated institution and bring awareness to transgender rights at the same time. As it turns out, Ms. Talackova agrees, as she’s suing the Donald Trump-controlled institution for discriminating against transgender women.
A statement sent out earlier today by her spokesperson Rory Richards reads in part:
Jenna is deeply humbled by the overwhelming support she has received, and the important attention to trans issues that her situation has catalyzed. She understandably realizes that her case could be a significant landmark for the dignity and liberty of LGBTQ citizens everywhere.
The Miss Universe Pageant is about beauty, but it is also about values. We ask Mr. Trump, and the Miss Universe Pageant stakeholders, to be on the right side of history, and reconsider their decision to disqualify Jenna on the basis of not being a ‘naturally born female,’ and accept Jenna as the brave young woman she clearly is today.
The absurdity of state involvement in determining someone’s gender aside, her case is legally strengthened by the fact that she’s officially recognized as female by the Canadian government. While I’m obviously on Jenna’s side and opposed to all forms of discrimination against transgender people, I can’t help feeling a little bit like I do about gays in the military: why on earth would you fight to participate in such a shitty institution in the first place? Nevertheless, it should be one’s own personal choice and not that of the government/institution/etc., so I hope Jenna wins her case.
UPDATE: As of today (April 3), she’s back in the pageant! Hooray!
(Via Radar Online)