Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jenna Talackova Disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada Contest because she's Transgender: What You Can Do

Pageants and what they say about women (and what we as a culture value about women) have been a source of debate for a long time. 

On the one hand, detractors feel that having women parade around in bathing suits and heels, and then evening gowns, and then displaying performance-based talents to entertain an audience, and then answering questions about world peace with the male host smirking at how sometimes the answers are simplistic (with the implication being that the pretty contestant isn't maybe all that smart) sends the message that for women and girls, the most important thing is to look pretty.

On the other hand, there's been an effort by pro-pageant forces to re-frame the contests to be less about who's the most beautiful to where they're "scholarship competitions," with the focus on public speaking, and doing good in the world... all while still looking pretty in gown, bathing suit and heels.  So their message is that for women and girls, you should be pretty with a purpose.

So when Donald Trump's Miss Universe Canada competition found out that one of their contestants, Vancouver finalist Jenna Talackova, was a 23 woman who, though she always believed she was a woman, was born into a body that didn't match that, they kicked her out.

Now that Jenna does have a body that matches her female identity, and she's this beautiful blonde beauty pageant contestant, they've disqualified her because she wasn't born into that body.  Because she wasn't a "naturally born female."

Jenna Talackova

Jenna responded:

"All I can say is that they disqualified me because I'm not 'natural born,' she told the National Post. "[That] doesn't make sense because since I was conscious, I always felt this way."
Jenna recognized she was a girl from the age of four, and started hormone therapy when she was fourteen.  She refers to herself as "a woman, with a history."

Jenna's swimsuit pose

On Twitter she wrote:

"I'm disqualified, however I'm not giving up. I'm not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination."
What can we do? 

You can sign this petition to let Donald Trump and his team know that this kind of discrimination is wrong!

So far, over 30,000 people have signed, demanding that Jenna be allowed to compete.

Let's stand up for Jenna, and our transgender community members!



ivanova said...


Kelly Robinson said...

What's really ridiculous is the amount of plastic surgery beauty contestants have, yet THIS is a problem? I'll bet few contestants have "natural born" boobs, lips, or fill-in-the-blank.

Annie said...

I don't want Donald Trump telling me what it means to be a woman. Jenna deserves a place in this competition.

Cleveland Rock said...

I was wondering if it might be because they ban any kind of plastic surgery, but I looked it up, and plastic surgery is not against their rules. Sex change isn't against their rules, either; they simply made it up because they don't like her.

I'd like to see an award (perhaps a GLAAD Media Award?) given to any contestant who drops out of this contest because of this. Nobody needs Donald Trump's approval, anyway.