Donald Trump says transgender model can compete
Business mogul allows Canadian Jenna Talackova to enter Miss Universe pageant
Donald Trump says his organization will allow a transgender woman who was born a male to compete for Canada's spot in the Miss Universe pageant.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Miss Universe Organization said 23-year-old Jenna Talackova, who underwent a sex change four years ago, can compete in the 2012 competition to become Canada's pageant contestant.
Talackova's attorney Gloria Allred held a news conference earlier in the day demanding the organization eliminate its rule requiring contestants be born women. Allred did not respond immediately to a call and email seeking comment on Tuesday.
The Miss Universe Organization, which is run by Trump, says it made a fair and just decision on Monday to allow Talackova's participation. The organization says it is reviewing rules to make sure similar issues don't arise again.
The rules of the contest currently say entrants must be "naturally born" females.
Talackova was born male, leading organizers to disqualify her last month as a finalist in the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant in May.
Sex change in 2008
At Talackova's Los Angeles news conference Tuesday, Allred said she hoped Trump would "put aside any fears, prejudices or stereotypes that you may have and see Jenna for what she is — a woman beautiful, strong and ready to compete."
"She should never have been judged by what she was or was not like at her birth. The pageant's rule is simply blatant discrimination and has nothing to do with who would be the best choice for Miss Universe."
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Talackova, a native of Vancouver, said she was devastated when organizers disqualified her and felt their reasoning was unjust.
Allred displayed Talackova's passport, which states she is female and said that if her client's status as a woman was good enough for the Canadian authorities, it should be good enough for Trump.
The Miss Universe organization had announced Monday that Talackova could be reinstated "provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada."
Trump said he wishes Talackova the best of luck in her quest for the crown, as he does all contestants.
With files from The Associated Press