GLAAD has announced that the Miss Universe Organization is close to finalizing a policy change that will allow transgender women to participate in its beauty pageants. The movement started in March, when Jenna Talackova (pictured, right) was disqualified from competing in the Miss Universe Canada competition for being transgender.
But the organization and owner Donald Trump announced last week that Talackova would be allowed to compete. And to further demonstrate its commitment, the Miss Universe Organization consulted with GLAAD to discuss a policy change that will take effect for this fall’s 2013 pageant season.
GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick says, “For more than two weeks, the Miss Universe Organization and Mr. Trump made it clear to GLAAD that they were open to making a policy change to include women who are transgender. We appreciate that he and his team responded swiftly and appropriately. The Miss Universe Organization today follows institutions that have taken a stand against discrimination of transgender women including the Olympics, NCAA, the Girl Scouts of America and The CW’s ‘America’s Next Top Model.'”
Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart adds, “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 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.”