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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 25, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 21
Trans Miss Universe contestant voted Miss Congeniality
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Trans Miss Universe contestant voted Miss Congeniality

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Jenna Talackova, the Transgender Canadian woman who hoped to represent her country in the Miss Universe pageant, placed in the top 12 in the contest for Miss Universe Canada, but fell short of the crown.

Talackova became a favorite among her fellow contestants, however, and was one of four women voted 'Miss Congeniality.'

She originally had been banned from the competition because she was not deemed 'naturally born female,' as the Miss Universe rules require.

Talackova replied that she is, in fact, a woman. She said she has identified as a woman since age 4, began hormone therapy at 14, and underwent gender reassignment surgery at 19. She is now 23.

A Canadian citizen, Talackova has a passport, driver's license, and birth certificate that all identify her as a woman.

Talackova also engaged celebrity attorney Gloria Allred to sue the Miss Universe pageant. Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe brand, then intervened on her behalf.

According to Trump spokesperson Michael Cohen, the Miss Universe Organization decided that as long as Talackova is a woman under Canadian law, she is a woman for the purposes of the pageant.

Allred said during the pageant that Talackova shouldn't feel disappointed.

'She's still a winner as far as I'm concerned,' the attorney said during an intermission.

'She won an 'herstoric' civil rights victory and that I think is frankly more important than anything, any victory she would win - even representing Miss Canada.'

In a 2010 interview for Thailand's Miss International Queen, a pageant for Trans women, Talackova said she believed she had a mission to advocate for other Trans people.

'Because I'm a woman, and I feel like the universe, the Creator just put me in this position as an advocate,' she said. ' If it's helping anybody else, my story and my actions, then I feel great about it.'

Asked in the same interview whether she though of herself as Trans or as a woman, she answered, 'I regard myself as a woman - with a history.'

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