The Miss Universe Organization this week decided to change its position and allow a transgender woman to compete in the 2012 contest.
Jenna Talackova had been disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition last month, an action met with protest in the LGBT community.
Last week, representatives with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation contacted Miss Universe officials and requested a review of Talackova’s case, as well as a ruling opening the competition to transgender women.
The Miss Universe Organization said in a statement on April 2: “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, after the announcement, said it 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 spokesperson 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,” added Graddick.