Miss Universe: Big Enough to Include Transgender Beauty?

Here’s what to do with a woman like Jenna Talackova. Welcome her.

Jenna Talackova at the 2010 Miss International Queen event in Thailand

Jenna Talackova—"a woman with a history"—at the 2010 Miss International Queen event in Thailand. (Photo: Christophe Archambault/Getty)

Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

"I regard myself as a woman with a history," said transgender beauty pageant veteran Jenna Talackova at the 2010 Miss International Queen event in Thailand. Talackova’s history—being born with a penis—was dragged forward as justification to disqualify the 23-year-old would-be “most beautiful woman in the world” from competing in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant.

The Miss Universe Canada organization may have believed it had effectively disposed of Jenna Talackova.

The Miss Universe Canada organization may have believed it had effectively disposed of Jenna Talackova with a blanket assertion that the transgender beauty “did not meet the requirements to compete.”

Miss Universe Canada, owned by Donald Trump, also professed “respect [for] her goals” and “determination,” and wished the 6-1 Vancouver native “the best.”

That wished-for best, apparently, was a backseat in oblivion, a seat Talackova refuses to accept quietly.

“I’m disqualified,” Talackova conceded to her Twitter followers, “however I’m not giving up. I’m not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination.”

Brooklyn’s Oscar Dimant has picked upTalackova’s torch. More than 40,000 signees to Dimant’s change.org petition are urging Miss Universe Canada and Donald Trump to reverse the disqualification of Jenna Talackova.

If a woman is bold enough to defy stigmatizing perspectives and presumptions about beauty queens, and seizes the opportunity to celebrate her physical identity, no one has the right to push her off that stage.

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