Jenna Talackova

Miss Universe announced on Tuesday that it is finalising an official policy change that will allow women who are transgender to participate in its pageants.

This follows discussions with GLAAD, the American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organisation.

The issue was brought into the spotlight late last month when a finalist in the Miss Universe Canada pageant, Jenna Talackova, 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.

The organisation, in consultation with GLAAD, is now working on a policy change that will include transgender women in time for the start of the 2013 pageant season; a time when most of the competitions around the world begin to take place.

“For more than two weeks, the Miss Universe Organisation 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 spokesperson Herndon Graddick.

“We appreciate that he and his team responded swiftly and appropriately. Jenna and all of the LGBT advocates who have called for this change and spoken out in support of transgender women are to be commended.”

The Miss Universe Organisation said that despite Talackova’s high profile stand against her exclusion it was unsuccessful in reaching her personally.

Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organisation, criticised the beauty queen: “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.”

Meanwhile, Talackova appeared on the U.S. television shows Good Morning America and the View on Monday. She revealed that she has a boyfriend and would like to have two children.

Talackova is expected to compete in Miss Universe Canada on May 19 in Toronto.

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