AirTalk for April 4, 2012

Limited victory for transgender model

Miss Universe Organization Reserves Their Decision On Disallowing Transgender Contestant

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Jenna Talackova (R), a would be Miss Universe contestant, shows her Canadian passport, as a proof that she is a female, during a news conference with her attorney Gloria Allred on April 3, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

Two weeks ago a transgender model, Jenna Talackova, 23, was kicked out of the Miss Universe Canada pageant because the rules of the contest run by Donald Trump's New York City-based organization say entrants must be "naturally born" females. Talackova was born a male but underwent a sex change four years ago.

The competition organizers have since reinstated Ms. Talackova to allow her to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant after all, provided that she meet the legal requirements for being a woman in Canada. It is still not clear whether Ms. Talackova will be able to compete because these requirements vary slightly by province in Canada and can include obtaining medical certificates and legal affidavits from doctors.

The model became a finalist last month in the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant in May but was disqualified from the competition when it was learned she was born a male. Soon after that Ms Talackova tweeted “disqualified for being born” and a flurry of press attention ensued. Her lawyer Gloria Allred called a press conference on Tuesday and condemned publically the discriminatory rules that disqualified her client.

Are these rules governing beauty pageants fair? Ms. Talackova’s passport clearly states that she is a woman. Should the fact she was born a male disqualify her from this competition? Is this a victory for the transgender community?

Guest:

Mr. Gunner Scott, Executive Director of Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition; creator of the “I Am: Trans People Speak” campaign.


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