The competition changes the rules -- and makes history
If you, like the rest of us, assumed you’d go the rest of your life without ever once thinking, “Good job, there, Donald Trump,” today is the day you may have to think again. Believe it or not, the uniquely coiffed conspiracy theorist and fragrance magnate has done something cool — by letting transgender beauties vie for the crown of Miss Universe.
Late last month, Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova was disqualified on the grounds that she was, in its terms, “not a naturally born female.” But last week Trump’s organization said the 23-year-old, who underwent gender reassignment four years ago, would be permitted to return and compete. She is now back on the roster of this year’s Canadian finalists.
And after weeks of working Miss Universe officials, GLAAD declared Tuesday that starting with next year’s pageant, competition will be open to transgender women. In an official statement, GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddic said, “At a time when transgender people are still routinely denied equal opportunities in housing, employment and medical care, today’s decision is in line with the growing levels of public support for transgender people across the country.” Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart added, “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.”
It’s a smart move, and not just because it’s a progressive one. The pageant is, in many ways, as dated and irrelevant as Donald Trump’s hair. Tossing in an element of controversy, Trump no doubt knows, is a good way to get attention. And sure enough, Twitter was ablaze Tuesday with outraged fans of “natural born” females complaining that “if these freaks want a pageant let them start there own with animals who are woman and woman who are men and men who are woman [sic]” and “this MAN IS NOT A WOMAN! and its almost guarenteed the ratings will drop because of this guarenteed! [sic, sic, sic]” You hear that, Trump? Your viewers guarentee it. I’m sure you’re losing sleep over alienating the coveted Ranting Poor Speller demographic.
The opportunity to strut around in a bathing suit and tiara may not seem like great gender progress for anybody, but in this case, it truly is. It may prove a head trip for anyone who still watches beauty pageants to ogle the pretty girls and know that some of those pretty girls were born boys, but that’s their problem. What matters more is sending a message of tolerance and acceptance to transgender males and females all around the world, of moving in the direction of changing people’s perceptions of what equality for “all women” really looks like. Come pageant time, Jenna Talackova may not ultimately snag the big sash and tiara. But with her honesty and persistence, she’s helped win something even bigger. She’s won a place for the transgender community at yet another table. It’s a harder-won prize, and a lasting legacy.
More Related Stories
- My text blew up in my face
- Boy Scouts end ban on openly gay boys
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- Man arrested for sending Craigslist sex party to neighbor's house
- Greek yogurt, toxic waste hazard?
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Pope Francis: Atheists are all right!
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- Is recreational pot use safe?
- How I ended up in a pyramid scheme
- My bipolar partner beat me
- Teenagers care more about online privacy than you think
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
- Kicked out of the mall -- for an anti-cancer hat
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11