The Miss Universe organization on
Tuesday announced that transgender women would be allowed to compete.
The decision comes after transgender
beauty queen Jenna Talackova was told she could not compete in Miss
Universe Canada because she was not born female. Within days the
decision was reversed, but the 23-year-old Talackova asked real
estate mogul Donald Trump, who owns Miss Universe, to drop the rule.
Trump said the decision was made
independently of Talackova's actions and those of civil rights
attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Talackova.
“We made the decision two days before
we even heard that [Allred] was involved,” Trump told CNN. “Had
I known she was involved, maybe I wouldn't have made that decision
because she's easy to beat.”
On ABC's The View, Allred
suggested Trump was being disingenuous.
“If he didn't know that I was
involved he had to be the only one in the Western world who didn't
know it. I suggest that he read the news. Keep up with the news,
Donald. In addition, he says that he would have reversed the rule.
In other words … he would have decided, 'I'll go back to inequality
and discriminatory treatment.'”
Miss Universe officials credited the
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for the ban's
end, not Allred.
“The decision to include transgender
women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing
discussions with GLAAD and not Jenna's legal representation, which if
anything delayed the process,” Miss Universe President Paula
Shugart said in a statement. “We have a long history of supporting
equality for all women, and this was something we took very
“For more than two weeks, the Miss
Universe Organization and Mr. Trump made it clear to GLAAD that they
were open to making a policy change to include women who are
transgender,” said GLAAD spokesman Herndon Graddick. “We
appreciate that he and his team responded swiftly and appropriately.
The Miss Universe Organization today follows institutions that have
taken a stand against discrimination of transgender women including
the Olympics, NCAA, the Girl Scouts of America and The CW's America's
Next Top Model.”
Talackova, a Vancouver resident, has
identified as female since age 4. She began transitioning at the age
of 14 and underwent gender reassignment surgery at 19. Her driver's
license, birth certificate and passport state that she is female.
Talackova: Gender reassignment surgery was “excruciatingly