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Transgender Jenna gets Miss Universe go-ahead

MISS Universe boss Donald Trump has given his blessing for a transgender woman to take part in the competition.

Jenna Talackova (23) will compete in the 2012 pageant to become Canada's contestant, the organisation confirmed.

A statement said Trump wished Talackova "the best of luck in her quest for the crown" as he would any other contestant.


It followed a day a wrangling over a caveat in an earlier statement that said Talackova, could enter "provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions".

No further details were provided.

Talackova and her attorney Gloria Allred yesterday urged the organisation to clarify its position, and displayed a copy of Talackova's passport, which lists her as female, as do her birth certificate and driver's licence.

Talackova, a Vancouver resident, underwent a sex change four years ago after being born a male.

Her sex change initially led organisers in Canada to disqualify her from the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant in May, citing a rule that she must be "naturally born" a woman. Talackova pleaded with the pageant chiefs to drop the rule.

"I am a woman," Talackova said yesterday. "I was devastated, and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust. I have never asked for any special consideration. I only wanted to compete."

Talackova and Allred urged Trump to state that she can vie to represent Canada in the Miss Universe contest if she wins the Canadian contest. They also called on him to eliminate the rule.

"I do not want any other woman to suffer the discrimination that I have endured," Talackova said.

In response, the pageant organisers issued a statement saying "Gloria Allred's statements to the press today pay no mind to the fact that Mr Trump and the Miss Universe Organisation made the fair and just decision in allowing Jenna to compete in the Miss Universe 2012 Canada pageant."


It also said it was evaluating its rules to ensure that type of issue did not occur again.

"There is no need to further 'evaluate'," Allred responded. "The rule is blatantly discriminatory and it is time for Mr Trump to say that he will get rid of the rule."

The rule requiring a contestant to be "naturally born female" appears to still be in effect in other countries around the world, Allred said.