For the last few weeks, transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova and Donald Trump have been arguing about her participation in the Miss Universe Pageant. Trump, in a joint statement with GLAAD, announced today that transgender contestants will be allowed to compete starting in 2013.
The Miss Universe Pageant released a joint statement with GLAAD, saying:
“(We are) pleased to announce that 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.”
Talackova was initially disqualified after it was revealed that she was not a “natural born female.” GLAAD and LGBT activists pressured Trump about the issue and the Donald said that he was open to making a chance in the policy. GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick, said:
“For more than two weeks, the Miss Universe Organization and Mr. Trump made it clear to GLAAD that they were open to making a policy change to include women who are transgender…We appreciate that he and his team responded swiftly and appropriately.”
Paula Shugart, the president of the Miss Universe Organization, made sure to make clear that the decision to chance the policy was made after talking with representatives from GLAAD and was not the result of legal pressure. Shugart said that the Miss Universe Organization supports equality for all women and acknowledged that the policy was outdated. Shugart said:
“We want to give credit where credit is due… 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.”
E! Online reports that the policy change will officially take place in the Fall of 2013 before the pageant season begins.