A transgender woman named Jenna Talackova has been slated to compete in the Miss Universe Canada Pageant as a finalist for weeks now. Her inclusion and dominance in the competition was considered a triumph for the LGBT community and especially signaled a level of trans acceptance that no beauty pageant had ever achieved.
However, on Friday, the powers that be at the pageant declared that “She did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form,” and kicked her out of the running. In other words, in spite of the fact that Talackova has been living as a woman for quite some time and had gender reassignment surgery in 2010, the contest does not consider her a legitimate female.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that a beauty pageant would hold fast to gender norms, but LGBT groups and Talackova herself are calling the decision groundless and unfair. They argue that because she identifies as a woman the pageant’s decision is nothing more than discrimination.
The pageant, which is owned by Donald Trump, has yet to remark further on its decision, only wishing her the best and presumably deciding that it’s their pageant and they can eliminate who they want to.
Yet Talackova was such a strong competitor and is only being punished for revealing that she was born as a male — isn’t that the very essence of discrimination? Or should the pageant have the right to only allow women who were born female compete?