Will Trans Woman Jenna Talackova Allowed to Compete in Miss Universe?

Joanna Schroeder has her fingers crossed that Donald Trump, who co-owns the Miss Universe pageant, will agree to allowing Talackova to participate in the contest.

The Huffington Post reported yesterday that transgendered woman Jenna Talackova may very well be allowed to participate in the Miss Universe Pageant:

A rule change that would allow transgender women to participate in the Miss Universe beauty pageant next year is a step forward for equality, advocates said Tuesday after pageant officials announced the policy shift.

Pageant officials said they are working on the language of the official rule policy change but expected final word to come soon. The rules will have to be approved by Donald Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization, and NBC. Trump and NBC co-own the contest…

Talackova’s sex change initially led organizers in Canada to disqualify her from the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant in May, citing a rule that she must be “naturally born” a woman.

Talackova pleaded with the pageant’s leaders to drop the rule.

“I am a woman,” Talackova said last week. “I was devastated, and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust. I have never asked for any special consideration. I only wanted to compete.”

C’mon Mr. Trump… I know you’ve got it in you!

Photo: AP

About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and editor with a special focus in issues facing raising boys and gender in the media. Her work has appeared on Redbook, Yahoo!, xoJane, MariaShriver.com, TIME.com, and more. She and her husband are outdoor sports enthusiasts raising very active sons. She is currently co-editing a book of essays for boys and young men with author and advocate Jeff Perera. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.


  1. Okay it may just be a case of short interviewer and her probably wearing heels… but does anybody know how tall she is? Because she looks roughly a foot taller than him.

  2. Had you not told me, I would have had no idea. Even knowing, I’m having trouble believing. She is quite hot.

  3. I’ve always that that trans women have an unfair advantage because they have less body fat to start with and they can use cosmetic surgery to build a perfect female body rather than being stuck with the one they got, plus they never have to deal with PMS!

    • wellokaythen says:

      Good point. And they may have even more daily experience than most women do of all the tucking and hiding that goes into competing in pageants, especially if they’re pre-op. Talk about going through pain in pursuit of an idea of feminine beauty. You think your shoes are uncomfortable? Try tucking a penis and scrotum, girlfriend….

  4. Copyleft says:

    Fine with me if she competes. The more hotties on stage, the merrier.

  5. I certainly hope she will be able to compete – regardless of my personal opinions on these types of contests…

    On a somewhat related note: Andreas Derleth is Mr. Gay World 2012 – not Mr. Gay Universe though – that honor is still held by David Beckam 🙂


  6. wellokaythen says:

    Not a “naturally born woman”? Umm, technically, no one is born a woman. We’re newborns, not men or women. Maybe we have male and/or female genitalia and different chromosomes, but becoming a woman is a process for everyone, even if you’re born female. Becoming a beauty pageant winner is a very extreme process no matter what you’re born with.

    My point is that, besides the question of equality, there’s the fact that competing in the Miss Universe pageant is already an incredible “unnatural” process no matter what parts you grow into. If you ban her because she isn’t “natural” then you better ban any woman with any “artificial” enhancements of any kind. Allowing her is to compete is no more radical than allowing anyone else with a boob job to compete.

    Since when did the Miss Universe pageant really give a damn about “natural women” anyway? There’s so much taping and tucking and hiding and polishing and primping that the winner is hardly recognizeable as a woman anyway. Letting her compete is, to my mind, the perfect embodiment of the entire pageant subculture.

    (Besides, she could be the first trans contestant *that we know of*. We can’t assume she is actually the first cis-male to compete. What, you think no one’s ever faked a birth certificate before?)

    Don’t get me started on the arrogant geocentrism inherent in saying she’s Miss “Universe”. The universe is a very big place….

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      “My point is that, besides the question of equality, there’s the fact that competing in the Miss Universe pageant is already an incredible “unnatural” process no matter what parts you grow into.”

      Well said.

    • “cis-male”, don’t you mean trans-woman?

      I am cis-male, you can tell because I identify as a man, and was born with a penis.

      She was born with a penis, but identifies as a woman, so is a trans-woman.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Good point. I was trying to use lots of synonyms so it doesn’t sound so repetitive, but it turns out the terms weren’t equivalent. I’m still learning the vocabulary. I just meant that she was born with a penis, not that she is male today, so I can see how “cis-male” is not the same thing as trans-woman. The larger point for me is that she’s just the first transwoman contestant _that we know of_, not necessarily the first ever. Many people may like to pretend this has never happened before, but you never really know….

  7. Peter Houlihan says:

    @Interviewer: “Eyes are up here”

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