Donald Trump's Miss Universe Organization has reversed an earlier decision and will now allow transgender contestant Jenna Talackova to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant.
Because the 23-year-old beauty queen from Vancouver was born male, organizers initially disqualified her last month as a finalist in the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant, which takes place in May. Miss Universe pageant rules state that entrants must be "naturally born" females and Talackova underwent a sex change four years ago.
But shortly after Talackova announced a news conference in Los Angeles with high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred on Tuesday, Trump's New York-based organization said in a statement that Talackova will be allowed to compete "provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions." The statement did not elaborate further.
A lawyer working on behalf of Talackova, Joe Arvay, told The Associated Press that the pageant requirement for "natural born" females does not comply with Canadian human rights legislation and his team planned to file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Talackova has been very open about her change of gender and competed in 2010 in the Tiffany Miss International Queen Competition for transgendered and transsexual women in Pattaya, Thailand. In a video interview for that pageant, she revealed that she had lived her life as a female since age four, then began hormone therapy at 14 and underwent a full sex change sex at 19.