Jenna Talackova, the Miss Universe Canada contestant who was disqualified last week from competing in the pageant because she is transgender, fired back at the pageant”s organizers, including its owner, Donald Trump, at a press conference Tuesday.
Speaking through her attorney, Gloria Allred, Talackova criticized Trump”s handling of the situation.
“Jenna entered this competition and gave the pageant her time, her best efforts and her money,” Allred said at the afternoon press conference.
“She did not think for one moment that what she might have looked like at birth would be relevant. 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. It made no difference to her. Why should it have made a difference to him”
The pageant”s organizers reversed their earlier decision on Monday, and issued a statement announcing that Talackova, 23, would be able to compete. She did not, however, confirm during the press conference whether she would actually be participating.
Rather, Allred said, the organization”s actions did not go far enough, and she implied that Talackova is considering suing the pageant.
“Mr. Trump”s statement fails to state that the rule that only naturally-born women will be allowed to compete will be eliminated,” Allred said. “Otherwise, we are considering all of Jenna”s legal options.”
Talackova was born male but has identified as female since the age of 4. She began hormone therapy at 14 and underwent gender reassignment surgery at age 19.
Describing herself as “overwhelmed” by the support she received in the wake of her removal from the pageant, Talackova had said in a previous statement: “I will look to turn this situation into a positive so that other people in a similar situation are not discriminated against in the future.”