A little over a week ago, word got out online that 23-year-old Jenna Talackova had been booted from the Miss Universe Canada competition after it was discovered she was born a man. Organizers have had a change of heart.
Faced with criticism from all sides for discriminatory practices, the Miss Universe organization has agreed to let Jenna back in on the competition.
However, they insist that their decision has nothing to do with said discrimination allegations, but rather with the fact that there must have been some misunderstanding at play, the Daily Mail informs.
As we also reported
at the time, when Jenna was booted, organizers initially said she had lied on her application form, saying she was born female – when that was never the case, she was born a man and is now a woman, after surgery.
“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,” Michael D Cohen, executive vice president and special counsel to Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe pageant, says.
Director Denis Davila insists that the initial decision was not discriminatory: Jenna had lied and, just like everybody else in the competition, she had to suffer the consequences of such an act.
“We have to have the facts straight. There is no discrimination here at all. You can look at it the way she wants to look at it, but we all have to follow the same rules,” Davilla explains.
While organizers were saying Jenna had lied, reports online claimed she was honest from the get-go but that Miss Canada simply did not want the controversy that would inevitably come with having a transgender in the competition.
Over 20,000 people signed a virtual petition at Change.org, pleading with the Miss Canada pageant to have Jenna back on, because doing otherwise would be discrimination in its purest, most shameful form.
Even with the new decision made public, organizers insist that the campaign and the public outcry did not influence the situation in any way.