Miss Universe Will Allow Transgender Women To Compete As Official Policy

After the controversy surrounding trans contestant Jenna Talackova, the Miss Universe pageant says it will now allow transgender women to participate in its annual competition.

GLAAD and the Miss Universe Organization, which is owned by Donald Trump, announced the news this morning in a press release:

After more than two weeks of discussions, the Miss Universe Organization is close to finalizing an official policy change that will allow women who are transgender to participate in its beauty competitions.

GLAAD first contacted the Miss Universe Organization on Saturday, March 24 after news broke that Jenna Talackova was disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition. GLAAD called on the Miss Universe Organization to review Jenna’s case, as well as open the competition to transgender women.

After unsuccessful attempts to reach Jenna Talackova personally, the Miss Universe Organization and its owner Donald J. Trump moved forward and announced last week it would allow Jenna to compete. To further demonstrate its commitment, the organization, in consultation with GLAAD, discussed a policy change that includes transgender women in time for the start of this fall’s 2013 pageant season; a time when most of the competitions around the world begin to take place.

And, if you’re wondering whether Talackova’s hiring of high-profile women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred had anything to do with it, Miss Universe says this one was all GLAAD.

Adds Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization: “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 GLAAD and not Jenna’s legal representation, which if anything delayed the process. We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously.”

Jenna’s behavior has been somewhat bizarre of late—it seems she is filming a documentary about the whole thing now. She also has been doing a media tour over the past few days, going on 20/20 and GMA. And it seems like she didn’t work very closely with GLAAD or Miss Universe to get this policy change instituted.

In any case, she can compete now, as can all other trans ladies out there.