Miss Universe Canada has apparently reversed its decision to throw out a transgender contestant for not being a ‘naturally-born’ woman.
Jenna Talackova from Vancouver was among 65 finalists in the pageant but was disqualified after officials discovered that she is a transgender woman.
The incident caused an international furore and the pageant’s owner Donald Trump stepped in to reinstate the twenty-three-year-old beauty.
“As long as she meets the standards of legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, which we understand that she does, Jenna Talackova is free to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant,” Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump and executive vice president of his business group, told Reuters.
The statement, however, has been criticised by Talackova as confusing and she has called on Trump to clarify her status.
“I am a woman. I was devastated and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust,” she said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“I wish Mr. Trump would just say, in plain words, whether or not I will be allowed to compete and, if I win, whether I will be allowed to represent Canada in the Miss Universe competition,” Talackova said.
“I also want Mr. Trump to clearly state that this rule will be eliminated because I do not want any other woman to suffer the discrimination that I have to endure.”
She was flanked by high-profile women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred at the press conference.
Allred went on to tell reporters: “Jenna entered this competition and gave the pageant her time, her best efforts and her money. She did not think for one moment that what she might have looked like at birth would be relevant.
“She did not ask Mr. Trump to prove that he is a naturally-born man, or to see the photos of his birth, to view his anatomy, to prove that he was male. It made no difference to her. Why should it have made a difference to him?”
At the time of writing Talackova’s picture had not been reinstated on the Miss Universe Canada website.