A Canadian beauty pageant contestant who was disqualified when the Miss Universe Canada organizers discovered she was transgender is not ready to speak to reporters, a representative for the 6-foot-1-inch-tall blond model said Tuesday.
Jenna Talackova was one of the 65 finalists selected to contend for the title of Miss Universe Canada and the honor of representing her country in the Miss Universe competition, but she will not be allowed to compete because organizers say Talackova lied about having undergone sexual reassignment surgery and did not meet requirements for the pageant.
“As with any competition, the Miss Universe pageant has rules which apply to all of its franchises around the world. Such rules include, but are not limited to, citizenship, age, and marital status requirements. Additionally, the rules currently state that all contestants must be naturally born females,” the Miss Universe Organization said.
Those rules are not mentioned on the Miss Universe website.
Rory Richards, a spokeswoman for the 23-year-old Vancouver resident, said Talackova will not be able to talk to reporters pending possible legal action.
“Jenna is overwhelmed, and deeply moved, by the support she has received from around the globe, but especially from fellow Canadians that have said how proud they would be if she represented Canada in the Miss Universe pageant,” Richards wrote in an e-mail to CNN on Tuesday. …
… The eligibility criteria for Canadian contestants says that the contestant must be a female who is not married and has never been pregnant. Talackova, however, insists that she is a woman and has regarded herself so since four years of age. Later, at the age of 19, she also underwent a reassignment surgery, putting her feminity on the records.
After raising controversy over the issue of rendering Talackova ineligible, Miss Universe Canada officials defended their decision. “We have to have the facts straight. There is no discrimination here at all,” national director Denis Davila told CTV News. “You can look at it the way she wants to look at it … but we all have to follow the same rules.”
Davila said that the rules clearly say that the contestant must be a “naturally born female” and that Talackova acted dishonestly when it came to the question of her sexuality. He said that she lied while filling the application form, and only opened up about the truth of her surgery after she was outright asked by one of the organization’s members. …