From beauty pageants to college sports, transgender people break barriers
Jenna Talackova, right, and her lawyer Gloria Allred want the Miss Universe pageant to drop its "naturally born" clause.
April 14th, 2012
10:06 AM ET

From beauty pageants to college sports, transgender people break barriers

Jenna Talackova was born a man. She began the process of becoming a woman at age 14 with hormone treatments and then had surgery at the age of 19.

“I have always dreamed of being in the Miss Universe competition and having an opportunity to represent my country, Canada,” said the 23-year-old beauty contestant.  “I was told by representatives of the Miss Universe Canada Pageant that I could not compete because a rule stated that I had to be a naturally born woman,” she said.

The Miss Universe Pageant is owned by Donald Trump who, after much attention, changed his mind and said Talackova could compete. But, Talackova’s attorney Gloria Allred says, she and her client want the “naturally born” rule eliminated.

There are some pageants specifically for transgender women and transvestites, but Talackova wants to compete in mainstream pageants. Allred said allowing Talackova to compete but not changing the “naturally born” rule doesn't address the problem.

That rule has already been dropped from most sports from high school to the Olympics. Transgender people can compete in high school, college, the Olympics and the LPGA. The NCAA amended its transgender policy just last year.

“We met with several of our committees that deal with some of these issues and the main policy issues had to do with mixed team status and had to do with the use of banned substances - testosterone,” said Mary Wilfer, associate director of health and safety at the NCAA.

She said that after a year of testosterone suppression medication, a male becoming a female will lose a sufficient amount of male muscle-building strengths and other benefits of testosterone and therefore has no unfair advantage over other naturally born females when it comes to athletic competitions.

Nancy Hogshead-Makar is the senior director of advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation. The WSF was part of a group that helped form the transgender policies for the high school and college level.

“In high school it’s about gender identification. Whatever somebody says they are is what they get to participate in,” said Hogshead-Makar. The WSF took its policy for the NCAA from the International Olympic Committee’s policy that mandates that transgender women must be at least two years post-gender reassignment surgery in order to compete.

Another group that helped shape the NCAA’s policy is the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Shannon Minter, a transgender man, said it’s true that just because a woman was once a man, it does not make her a better or stronger athlete.

“There’s lots of women actually, transgender women now, who are competing in women’s sports. And you know, I will say that none of them are at the top of their field,” Minter said.

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  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    I happened to be born with the most common blood type, and also with the most common se-
    x-
    ual orientation.
    I always felt a little left out when my friends said that they had more unusual blood types. It was a little like the tragedy of being born without blond hair.
    If you're born gay, that's the way to stay.
    BTW–even with my D.D., I can't remember the Biblical admonition against the transfusion of accident (and battle) victims with blood of different types. That would probably be back around Leviticus, wouldn't it...
    You know, we,ve learned so much during the last two thousand years!

    April 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeani

      I have AB- blood. Good thing I'm healthy...and I also store my blood.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO ©

    To quote the vampire on Bugs Bunny, "sleep is good for the blood."

    April 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Lola

    What do they do with the weenus's they remove from these guys that want to be girls? Just throw them in the trash?

    How do they reconnect the wires and tubes of the inside to a new vajinuh? Where do they get these vajinuh's? Where do they get the new wires and tubes? This is weird.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. eville11

    Hey Donald why don't you just drop the Miss from the event and call it the Universe Pageant.. No, no, just cancel the whole thing. Let em dream about being smart productive humans doing something for society besides looking good on camera and posing for various magazines... TG or TV or downright original women with original parts, if they're so smart and dedicated to helping they would be studying how to cure cancer and feed starving people than parading their "looks" around to get pageant votes. I always thought the liberal woman hated the Miss U pageant becasue it degraded them? Here they are as liberal as ever NC LR whatever supporting a TG in the miss universe pageant, uh, uh, uh, where's my cup of irony???? hypocrisy, my cup of FO and get a life? Ahhh black and hot, like all my women.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Maty

      Are you currently studying how to cure cancer and feed starving people? I thought not.

      May 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. eville11

    Ahh Gloria Allred, that explains alot.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Hanga Teodor

    she didn't say that only white girls do this.

    May 6, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Hawk in Texas

    Prettiest man i ever saw.

    May 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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