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Miss Universe reverses course on transgender contestants

(Editor’s note: The story about Miss Universe dropping a transgender contestant for not being “naturally born” a woman has resonated with SDGLN readers, being among our top read stories since it was first published March 28. GLAAD, a media partner of SDGLN, reports a major breakthrough involving the beauty pageant and its rules.)

GLAAD responded to the Miss Universe Organization's decision to allow a transgender contestant to compete after she was disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition last month.

GLAAD contacted the Miss Universe Organization last week after Jenna Talackova was disqualified and called on the Miss Universe Organization to review Jenna's situation, as well as open the competition to transgender women.

The Miss Universe Organization said in a statement late Monday:

“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.”

GLAAD will continue working with The Miss Universe Organization to review current policies and update for full inclusion of transgender women.

“The Miss Universe Organization made the right decision and has taken an important first step,” said GLAAD's Herndon Graddick. “Now, GLAAD urges the Organization to include all women and use this incident to speak out in support of the transgender community.”

“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,” said Graddick.

To read the original story or to visit the GLAAD blog, click HERE.