A finalist in the Miss Universe Canada pageant has been disqualified after officials discovered that she is a transgender woman.
Twenty-three-year-old Jenna Talackova from Vancouver, who was born male and has undergone gender reassignment surgery, was among 65 finalists in the pageant.
Miss Universe Canada, which is owned by Donald Trump, issued a statement confirming that Talackova had been disqualified because she was not born female.
It said that she “did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form. We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best.”
While the organisers claim that she had not been honest with them, Talackova has been open about her past in an online video interview. She also previously competed in the Miss International Queen transgender beauty pageant in Thailand.
Talackova said through Twitter that she was a victim of discrimination. “I’m disqualified, however I’m not giving up. I’m not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination.”
An online petition has been set up on Change.org calling for Miss Universe Canada and Trump to reinstate Talackova in the competition
“Ms. Talackova has been disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada contest solely for being transgender,” reads the petition letter.
“This is discriminatory, unjust, and quite frankly disgusting. She is a woman and deserves to be treated as any other woman would be. What kind of genitals she was or was not born with (and even what kind of genitals she has today) is completely irrelevant.”