Transgender Contestant Can Compete in Miss Universe

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on April 03 2012 3:35 PM ET

After being rebuked by groups including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova, a transgender woman, to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant.

“The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions," according to a statement released by the organization late Monday night.

GLAAD contacted the pageant organization after Talackova was disqualified for her transgender status; the group urged Miss Universe to change its policies. GLAAD is hoping to change the policy for all transgender competitors.

“The Miss Universe Organization made the right decision and has taken an important first step,” GLAAD's Herndon Graddick said in a statement. “Now, GLAAD urges the Organization to include all women and use this incident to speak out in support of the transgender community.”