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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soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. TvNyC

    This world is nuts.

    April 15, 2012 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. TvNyC

    Blame the jews

    April 15, 2012 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    The last JIF posts were not written by me. I stopped at the Chanel discussion and went to sleep.

    April 15, 2012 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. ron

    @ kellyintulsa: was so glad to see your post, and know that we too, fellow bloggers, are thought of as a part of Lee's " informal" family. The regulars on here pretty much all know each other in this sense, and as such we too also miss him here.My thoughts have been with you- his family- since. I look to 2nd corinthians,chapter 12, verse 7-10 in times like this for my strength to carry on as Paul did. May you find that courage also and if you should decide to join us here, you would be most welcome.

    April 15, 2012 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    @furnace. You must find it odd that Jesus had to study his copy of the bible AND pray to his heavenly father (for He was his father, not his mother) in order to draw close with him. Jesus constantly quoted from his bible, the Old Testament. When Jesus prophecied "The earth shall become the property of the nice people" at Matthew 5:5, he was quoting -salm 37:11, almost word for word. How is it that Jesus needed his bible and quoted from it continually, but you feel we don't need it? As if we have a more direct line of communicating with God than Jesus did?

    April 15, 2012 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    Psalm 37:11, rather. "But the meek ones themselves will posses the earth, and they will indeed finf their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace." (Peace brought about, not by men with bombs, but by Jesus with a sword)

    April 15, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    @ron. Paul wasn't sepaking of dealing with the loss of a loved one to the enemy 'death' when he wrote those words at 1 Cor. 12:7-10. He was speaking again of his constant battle to keep his own fleshly desires at bay. (What do you think of Paul's words found atRomans 1:24-32?)

    April 15, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Condolences, when heartfelt, need no interpretation.

      April 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill

    It puts the lotion on the skin

    April 15, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mary

    Goodmorning my friends. I hope your day will be mary and bright.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. kellyintulsa

    @ fernace and ron I'm only doing what Lee would want me to do. The man changed my life and showed me what true love was. It's going to take a long time to get over losing him but with the strength of family and friends I will make it. I thought about it long and hard before I made up my mind that it would thrill Lee to no end for me to start blogging here. It may take me awhile to figure things out and I'm no were as good with words as he was but either way he would be proud of me.

    April 15, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. fernace

    I agree w/you Kelly! He'd like to see you blogging & he is proud of you! If you need any help, let us know & please disregard the trolls! They're annoying, but can be managed! Sounds like y'all had a really sweet lovestory & that's priceless! See you on the blogs!!

    April 15, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. RUFFNUTT ( beer drinking , turkey hunting , trailer trash from belton missouri )

    i think that the tornados are gone now...

    April 15, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe" 6465523b021

    196. TvNyC
    April 15th, 2012 4:30 am ET
    Blame the jews

    Are you saying this to get a rise out of jewish people, by posing as an anti semitic, or are you just this way.
    I all the time appoligize, because the nazis didn't do a good enough job on my family.
    The difference is I was raised in a racist home as I grew up, and regret it, hence our children did not turn out that way.
    So I ask what is it you want? What is it CNN wants, by allowing you here, and allowing your comment?
    Not a threat, more like a promise, someone is about to have a very bad day.

    April 15, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. portland tony

    As long as this person is happy, fulfilled and causes no harm to non-bigots and open minded people, I'd say the choice and sacrifices she has made were well worth it. It must be hell being trapped in the wrong body. There was a time, not to long ago when newborns who had both male and female gen**alia were given their gender by the attending physician by a nip, snip, and sew procedure, Usually the.safest and quickest way. A wrong guess and you have a very mixed up adolescent.

    April 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tara dimarco

    No one is "born a man" (or born a woman). People are born infants.

    April 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
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