A woman who was ousted from the Miss Universe Canada competition because she is transgender has been allowed back into the competition if she can prove she meets the requirements for gender recognition by Canadian authorities.
Jenna Talackova, 23, had been ejected from the contest after it emerged that she had undergone gender reassignment surgery and was, organisers said, not a “naturally born female” as she had indicated on forms.
Ms Talackova began hormone therapy when she was 14, and underwent surgical reassignment five years later.
Last night, having received widespread criticism, the Miss Universe Organization said in a statement: “The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions.”
Questions over whether Ms Talackova will meet the legal requirements abroad remain.
Herndon Graddick, a spokesman for GLAAD, which had called on the competition to reconsider Ms Talackova’s case and ensure equal access for transgender women said it was an “important” move.
He said: “Now, GLAAD urges the organization to include all women and use this incident to speak out in support of the transgender community.
He added: “So many women today do not have equal opportunities for employment, housing and safety simply because they are transgender.
“The Miss Universe Organization should look to state non-discrimination laws and institutions including the Olympics, NCAA and The CW’s America’s Next Top Model, which do not discriminate against transgender women.”