Jenna Talackova, the transsexual contestant disqualified from the 2012 Miss Canada Universe, is deeply moved by the support she has gained from fans following the announcement of her disqualification and an online petition to reinstate her entry in the competition and raise awareness.
Jenna is overwhelmed, and deeply moved by the support she has received from around the globe, Talackova's rep Rory Richards told CBC News, especially from fellow Canadians that have said how proud they would be if she represented Canada in the Miss Universe Pageant.
Talackova, a six-foot-one blonde, underwent a sex change surgery in 2010. In a video for the 2010 Miss International Queen transgender and transsexual competition in Thailand, Talackova said she realized her identity was a woman at four-years-old and started taking hormones at age 14.
I regard myself as a woman with history, Talackova said in the video.
On Monday, 23-year-old Talackova expressed her disconcertment with the ruling from Miss Universe Canada to disqualify her based on her identity, looking to put a positive spin on her misfortune.
I will look to turn this situation into a positive, Talackova said, so that other people in a similar situation are not discriminated against in the future.
According to Miss Universe Canada funded by Donald Trump, Vancouver native Talackova was disqualified as one of the 65 finalists on Friday for not meeting requirements for entry since she was born a male.
She did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form, Miss Universe Canada said in a press release. We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best.
Denis Davila, the national director of Miss Universe Canada, said Talackova didn't admit to being born a male until the pageant organizers confronted her with the information.
However, as stated on the competition's website, contestants must be a Canadian citizen and between the ages of 18 and 27 and are not married or pregnant. There is no mention of gender changes or cosmetic surgery.
The disqualification prompted the pageant to pull photos of Talackova from its website and led to unrest from fans and LGBTQ advocates.
Talackova took to Twitter to announce the news on March 20, stating that she was disqualified for being born.
Disqualified for being born? Really? I don't think so, she tweeted. I'm not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination.
Since her situation got the attention of the media, a petition on Change.org was started by a Brooklyn, New York man named Oscar Dimant which needs to reach 35,000 signatures. As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition has exceeded 30,000 names.
She is a woman who deserves to be treated like other women would be, Dimant wrote in the petition entitled, Reverse the Unfair Disqualification of Jenna Talackova! What kind of genitals she was born with (and even what kind she has today) is completely irrelevant.
View the slideshow to see photos of Jenna Talackova.