At last, the fiery debate over the participation of transgender women in beauty pageants has turned in the direction of pushing for a positive change in society.
The Miss Universe beauty pageant has officially revised the rules of participation, allowing transgender women to contest alongside other female models. The change came after thousands of critics worldwide slammed such beauty pageants to be “discriminatory, unjust and disgusting.”
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 Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD) and not Jenna`s legal representation, which if anything, delayed the process, Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said in a statement.
The rule change will bring a new ray of hope for transgender women like Jenna Talackova, who are genuinely beautiful, talented and boasts of all the qualities of a perfect beauty queen, but had lost out because they were not “naturally born females.”
At a time when transgender people are still routinely denied equal opportunities in housing, employment and medical care, today’s decision is in line with the growing levels of public support for transgender people across the country, GLAAD's senior director of programs Herndon Graddick said.
The announcement comes almost a week after the Canadian transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova was allowed to re-enter the Donald Trump-led Miss Universe Canada beauty pageant after a legal fight between the two parties and external pressure from all over the world. However, Shugart denied that the change in policy has anything to do with Jenna’s legal representation.
The 23-year-old Vancouver-based transgender finalist was earlier booted out of the contest after the organizers discovered that she was born male and underwent a sex change operation to become a female.
The new rule will debut next year and the trials for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant will begin this summer, Zee News has reported.
We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously, Shugart said.
The Miss Universe Organization today follows institutions that have taken a stand against discrimination of transgender women including the Olympics, NCAA, the Girl Scouts of America and The CW’s America’s Next Top Model, Graddick said.