Sex change halts beauty queen bid
Published 30/03/2012 | 09:05
Beach shots depict her as every inch a curvaceous beauty queen, but 23-year-old Jenna Talackova was born male and that has led to her being disqualified from Miss Universe Canada.
The rules of the contest run by the Donald Trump organisation say entrants must be "naturally born" females so organisers have told Ms Talackova - who underwent a sex change four years ago - she is out of the 61st Miss Universe Canada final taking place in May.
After being told she "did not meet the requirements to compete", the Vancouver resident is reported to be getting a lawyer. The disqualification has won her widespread sympathy and raised the question of whether the pageant has the right to decide who is female.
"She did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form," said a statement from Miss Universe Canada. "We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best."
"After review, organisers discovered that Jenna Talackova falsified her application and did not meet the necessary requirements to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant," a statement said.
Her change of gender was hardly a secret before the event because she had competed in the 2010 Tiffany Miss International Queen Competition for transgendered and transsexual women in Pattaya, Thailand.
In a video interview for that pageant, she said she had lived her life as a girl since the age of four, began hormone therapy at 14 and changed sex at 19. "I regard myself as a woman with a history," she said.
Connie McNaughton, Miss World Canada in 1984 and first runner-up for the world crown, called the decision outdated and discriminatory.
Some countries have their candidates undergo cosmetic surgery, she said, so what is wrong with sex-change surgery "because in your heart and soul you believe yourself to be a woman?"
A transgendered activist, Jamie Lee Hamilton, said Ms Talackova could sue for violation of her human rights, adding: "She was born with male genitalia and is being treated as a second-class citizen. Under the eyes of the law and the medical profession, she's a legal female."