Miss Universe Organization Grants All Transgender Contestants the Right to Compete

Celebrity News Apr. 10, 2012 AT 1:07PM
Transgender beauty pagent contestant Jenna Talackova leaves the "Good Morning America" taping at the ABC Times Square Studios on April 9, 2012 in New York City. Transgender beauty pagent contestant Jenna Talackova leaves the "Good Morning America" taping at the ABC Times Square Studios on April 9, 2012 in New York City. Credit: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Jenna Talackova has helped make history for transgendered people and the Miss Universe pageant. 

The 23-year-old beauty queen was initially prohibited from competing in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant for being transgendered. Talackova was biologically born a male, but underwent hormone therapy at 14 and gender reassignment surgery at 19. The Miss Universe Organization, however, changed the ruling on April 2 after the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation spoke out in support of Talackova.

Now, they've made another landmark announcement!

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On April 10, the Miss Universe Organization and GLAAD released a joint statement saying they 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."

Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization added, "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."

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The changes will be implanted for the fall 2013 pageant season.

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