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Transgender pageant hopeful wants rule change

By Robert Jablon

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, April 3 2012 5:01 p.m. MDT

LOS ANGELES — A would-be contestant for Canada's spot in the Miss Universe pageant who was born male said Tuesday that a rule requiring contestants to be born as women should be dropped, whether or not she gets a chance to compete.

"I do not want any other woman to suffer the discrimination that I have endured," said Jenna Talackova, who underwent a sex change four years ago.

Her attorney, Gloria Allred, displayed a copy of Talackova's passport, which lists her as female, as do her birth certificate and driver's license.

"I am a woman," Talackova said. "I was devastated and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust. I have never asked for any special consideration. I only wanted to compete."

Talackova, 23, of Vancouver was born male. Her sex change led organizers in Canada to disqualify her from the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant in May.

The pageant's New York based parent group, the Miss Universe Organization, run by Donald Trump, said in a statement Monday that Talackova can compete "provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions."

The statement did not provide specifics.

Talackova and Allred called the statement confusing and urged Trump to definitely state that she will be allowed to compete and to represent Canada in the Miss Universe contest if she wins. They also called on him to eliminate the rule.

"She did not ask Mr. Trump to prove that he is a naturally born man or to see the photos of his birth to view his anatomy to prove that he was male," Allred said.

The Associated Press requested comment from Trump, and an assistant said a statement would be released sometime Tuesday.

The lawyer did not permit Talackova to go beyond her statement or say whether she would compete if granted permission to do so while the rule remains in force.

Allred also said that legal teams have been formed in Canada, New York and California to consider Talackova's legal options.

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