Beauty pageants are full of rules and regulations that contestants have to abide by. To be considered a valid contestant, you have to be female; that is a no-brainer. However, there is somewhat of a grey area. If someone was born male but now assumes a female identity and appearance, could that person be considered female under the rules of a beauty pageant?
This is the question under scrutiny for a beauty pageant run and operated by the business mogul Donald Trump. The question came into light after one of the contestants was disqualified amid discovery that she was born a male. The contestant under question is Jenna Talackova, and she was removed from the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition in the light of the revelation.
Donald Trump has since permitted Talackova to continue. However, this is not enough for her, and she has now armed herself with an attorney who is no stranger to controversy: Gloria Allred. Talackova and Allred are now seeking to have the rule that all contenders must be “naturally born female” to be eliminated on the grounds that it is blatant discrimination.
Talackova has been open about her identity. She has competed in a transsexual beauty competition and has also openly stated in a Youtube video that she began hormone therapy by age 14 and made the decision to have reassignment surgery at 19. The winner of Miss Universe Canada will be crowned in May; it has not been determined yet whether Talackova will continue to compete if Trump does not modify the rules.
It will be interesting to see what the final decision will be for the Apprentice host. Trump has created his own share of controversy, particularly for his brief run of the presidency and accusations of President Obama not being a U.S. citizen. He will have his fair share of critics no matter what his final decision is.