Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Should someone born a man be allowed to compete in the Miss Universe pageant?

Canadian model Jenna Talackova has had quite the week.  The trans gender contestant was initially disqualified from entering the Miss Canada pageant after officials discovering that she was born a man.  The pageant is open to natural born females and Jenna was given the boot after it was revealed that she underwent gender-reassignment surgery at the age 19. Jenna had been awarded the opportunity to compete in the Miss Universe competition after winning a regional contest.

In a stunning turn of events yesterday co-owner of the Miss Universe pageant Donald Trump reversed his decision to allow the statuesque beauty to compete and allowed her back in the competition. This was after Jenna held a huge press conference describing her harrowing ordeal with famed attorney Gloria Allred.

Jenna says that she has known she was a female since she was four years old. She began hormone therapy at 14 and had sex reassignment surgery in 2010. “Since I was conscious I always felt this way,” she wrote in an email to the Vancouver Sun two weeks ago.

I have judged and competed in the Miss USA system for a number of years and as person who has been a former contestant, I know how strict the organization is about their rules and guidelines. I’m frankly surprised that they reversed the rules and allowed Jenna to compete. I will be very honest with you guys, I think Jenna’s chances of winning are slim. I think the controversy her case has generated will probably propel her to top 5 but the chances of her cinching the title are a bit bleak in my opinion. Remember that she will have to compete in the Miss Canada and win that, then go on to Miss Universe and nab that title to fulfill her quest of being Miss Universe. Is the world really ready for a transgender Miss Universe?

The bigger win for me with this case is Jenna has in essence become game changer for how people view trans gender folks. By standing up for her rights, Jenna is representing for the legions of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans gender and questioning) citizens globally. She’s fighting for equality and to me that to much bigger than winning the Miss Universe title.

So tell me, do you believe that someone born a man should be allowed to compete in the Miss Universe pageant?

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