Enter Donald Trump, whose pageant has disqualified her for being formerly male. The decision came down shortly after it was revealed that Talackova was transgender. Talackova, selected from among 65 finalists for the May competition to be held in Toronto, has refused to back down.
“I’m disqualified, however I’m not giving up,” she tweeted after getting the news. “I’m not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination.”
She and attorney Gloria Allred, known for taking on high-profile cases, held a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
“Jenna entered this competition and gave the pageant her time, her best efforts and her money,” Allred said at the press conference, Talackova at her side, as TMZ reported. “She did not think for one moment that what she looked like at birth would be relevant. She did not ask Mr. Trump to prove that he is a naturally born man, or to see the photos of his birth to view his anatomy to prove he was male. It made no difference to her. Why should it have made a difference to him?”
By Robert Jablon
Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization, issued a statement Tuesday wishing Jenna Talackova "the best of luck in her quest for the crown." The statement came the same day that Talackova and her attorney Gloria Allred urged the organization to clarify its gender requirements.
The organization said it actually made the decision Monday to let the 23-year-old Talackova compete in the 2012 competition to become Canada's contestant.
The organization said Talackova could enter the pageant "provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions." No further details were provided.
Jenna Talackova on 20/20 Tonight, April 6
Now Talackova has not only won the right to compete but also seems to have reversed the rule, as she wanted: Miss Universe pageant owner Donald Trump has rescinded the clause saying that contestants must be a “natural-born female.”
“I feel like the universe, the Creator, just put me in this position as an advocate, and now it’s like this, and I’ll take that position,” Talackova told broadcast journalist Barbara Walters in an interview for ABC’s 20/20. “If it’s helping anybody else, my story and my actions, then I feel great about it.”
It’s not clear whether she will compete, even though she has been given the go-ahead. As of April 6 her photos still were not in the gallery of finalists on the Miss Universe Canada web page.
Below: Jenna Talackova and Barbara Walters.