Miss Universe pageant officials have
reversed course; they now say transgender contestant Jenna Talackova
Miss Universe Canada officials said on
Friday that Talackova could not compete “because she did not meet
the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her
entry form.” A reference to the fact that Talackova was born male.
The organization released a statement
on Monday saying that the 23-year-old Talackova would be allowed to
“The Miss Universe Organization will
allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 pageant provided she
meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the
standards established by other international competitions,” the
organization said in an email to PEOPLE.com.
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.
Civil rights attorney Gloria Allred had
scheduled a press conference for Tuesday.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation (GLAAD) applauded the move.
“The Miss Universe Organization made
the right decision and has taken an important first step,” GLAAD
spokesman Herndon Graddick said in a statement. “Now, GLAAD urges
the organization to include all women and use this incident to speak
out in support of the transgender community.”