Dear Pageant Girl,
Once in a while, you get that special pageant person who causes some waves. Some are good waves, others not so much.
And I’m not talking about that blasted Tsunami Walk.
In the last 24 hours it has been brought to our attention that the gorgeous Jenna Talackova has made it through to the finals of the Miss Vancouver pageant.
Representing BC, Jelena’s bio is sweet and reeks of pageant wholesomeness. Her most memorable moment was performing as a child with three girlfriends in a county fair and receiving a rousing reception. Her role model is her uncle who has taught her the value of knowing her roots and cherishing her heritage, allowing her to be a more rounded person.
Jenna is also a transsexual.
Jenna competed in the Miss International Queen pageant in Pattaya, Thailand. Miss International Queen is owned and run by the Tiffany’s Show Group who also run the Miss Tiffany Pageant – one of the biggest transgender pageants in the world.
Jenna was a contestant in the 2010 pageant and was a top ten finalist. Check out Jenna in the video below. She appears at 7:43 and 7:50.
As per the video, Jenna “knew” she was a woman at the age of 4 and began her hormone therapy at 14. She had the “chop” at 19 and has never looked back.
If you watch the video many of these contestants are undeniably beautiful and will give any pageant contestant a run for their money. I have been to Thailand a couple of times and some of the lady-boys I have seen with my own eyes have taken my breath away.
The question is, should transsexuals be allowed to compete in beauty pageants such as Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth or Miss International?
Since hearing about the “news” Dear Pageant Girl has been monitoring the site and noticed that The Beauties of Canada – the Canadian license holders for the Miss Universe Pageant has pulled down Jenna’s page. For a good three hours the site was down for maintenance.
When it finally came back up, Jenna’s contestant page has mysteriously disappeared.
So what happened?
We have sent an email to the Beauties of Canada organization and await their reply.
If you base it on technicalities, there is no reason why transsexuals cannot be allowed to compete in many of their respective national pageants.
According to the Beauties of Canada site which holds the Canadian license for Miss Universe:
“Would you like to become Miss Universe® Canada 2012? Fill out the following information and we will get back to you directly. To qualify for the 2012 competition, you must be a Canadian Citizen and at least 18 years of age and under 27 years of age by February 1st, 2012.
If you meet the basic requirements, we’ll be sending you an application form to participate in a Casting or Local pageant to select the finalists for the Miss Universe® Canada pageant.”
I alluded to this in a previous post on how some of our national pageant sites are incredibly vague when inviting potential candidates to join the competition: http://dearpageantgirl.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/an-open-letter-to-all-beauty-aspirants-3/
On the 5th of December I wrote:
“The Miss Universe Australia application form states that to qualify entrants must:
- Be an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident
- Be aged no less than 18 years and not more than 27 on the 30th of January 2012
- Have been residing in Australia for at least six months prior to March 2012
- Have a valid passport
- Have never been married
- Have never given birth to a child
- Have not committed any crime or been involved in any inappropriate behavior, photographs or films which may cause embarrassment to both parties if disclosed at a later date
Bear in mind that neither one specifically tells you that you have to be first and foremost, a female.
In fact, nowhere does it state in the Miss Universe guidelines that applicants must be born biologically as a female.
So Jenna has a case.
Speaking to a few pageant industry commentators, the feedback I have received have been rather mixed. While some are adamant with their opposition to Jenna’s involvement, the majority greeted it as a welcome change.
The question is, where do we draw the line?
If you get into the argument of “must be born female and remains a female” opens another can of worms. If we go with that, then it makes it clear that “new women” or those who have gone through ‘the change’ (post ops) are rendered ineligible to enter.
But the majority of us do change and no longer have EVERYTHING that we are born with.
Some are born as blondes and grow up becoming brunettes. Do we then hold that against them as they are no longer what they were originally born as?
And what about the cosmetic changes?
Do we discriminate against a potential contestant because someone has exposed her to be a bottle blonde?
Some of us are born with dark eyes and we wear contact lenses to change them to a different color.
Some of us are born with pale skin yet we slather on fake tan to look darker.
We remove moles from our faces.
Why do some want to deny this woman the right to compete because she no longer has that one thing that she was born with? I can guarantee that our Miss Venezuelas definitely didn’t walk out of their mama’s womb looking like THAT.
So let’s be fair. To all you National Directors reading this, be precise with your criteria. Don’t lead people on. If you choose to color your criteria with shades of grey then expect a rainbow of applicants to come knocking down your door.
Dear Pageant Girl applauds Jenna’s bravery and commitment to diversity.
We await a response from The Beauties of Canada regarding Jenna’s status.
In the meantime, what do YOU think? Should transsexuals and transgenders be allowed to compete in your national beauty pageant?
********* JENNA UPDATE: MARCH 25 **************
Unfortunately it has been reported today that Jenna is once again out of the competition. According to pageant organisers, Jenna was disqualified for claiming to be a ”naturally born female” on her registration form. According to Denis Davila, Beauties of Canada owner and organiser, “ the rules are very clear and there’s no way we can go back on it.”
Are the rules really that clear though? I had a look at the rules page when this big bruhaha started and nowhere does it state that one must be born genetically a female.
Sorry, the rules are not as clear and there are PLENTY of loopholes. Dear Pageant Girl will keep a very close eye on this and wish Jenna all the best for the future. In or out, Jenna sure gave everyone something to think and talk about and we salute you for that.