Miss Universe Pageant To Allow Transgender Contestants

Jenna Talackova

Following last month’s controversy about Jenna Talackova, a transwoman who had been barred from competing in the Miss Universe Canada pageant because of a rule that required contestants to be “naturally born” women, the Miss Universe beauty pageant just announced that it will allow transgender women to compete starting next year.

The situation with Talackova was met with backlash from many LGBT rights organizations, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. In a joint statement, GLAAD and the Miss Universe Organization, which is owned by Donald Trump, said that they are “pleased to announce that after more than two weeks of discussions, the Miss Universe Organization is close to finalizing an official policy change that will allow women who are transgender to participate in its beauty competitions.”

“We want to give credit where credit is due, and the decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions with GLAAD,” said Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization. “We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously.”

Final say still needs to come from Donald Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization, and NBC.