It's official. Miss Transgender can now become Miss Universe, largely thanks to the work of a tenacious 23-year-old from Vancouver.
From next year, transgender women will be allowed to participate in the world's biggest beauty pageant. Officials are currently changing the policy wording (that contestants be "naturally born" female) to make it inclusive of women born as men, like Jenna Talackova, who underwent a sex change four years ago.
Trials for next year's Miss Universe pageant begin this summer, after Talackova lobbied singlehandedly to compete alongside other women. GLAAD, a gay and lesbian advocacy group, took up her cause, prompting the Miss Universe Organization to review the case.
"We want to give credit where credit is due, and the decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions with GLAAD," said president of the Miss Universe Organization, Paula Shugart. "We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously."
Transgender women are now able to take part in the Olympics, NCAA, the Girl Scouts of America and The CW's America's Next Top Model.
As for Talackova, she will legitimately vie for the crown among so many beautiful women. She has a boyfriend and hopes to have children some day. "Yes, I want to have two children."
Should transgender women should be able to take part in distinctly female clubs and activities? And vice-versa? Is gender something you're born with or something you take on?