Miss Universe: Trans Contestants Shouldn’t Compete

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Friday November 15, 2013

Maria Gabriela Isler, the former Miss Venezuela who was crowned Miss Universe last week, told the Huffington Post on Thursday that she believes transgender contestants should not compete in the Miss Universe pageant and hold their own contest.

Isler spoke with HuffPo about her win but was asked about Jenna Talackova, a transgender beauty queen who was initially disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada pageant last year.

"Do you think that transgender people should be able to compete in international pageants?" HuffPost Live host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin asked Isler.

"They should have their own pageant, I think, and maybe they can realize in this pageant, Miss Universe, or the other pageants [were] made for women," she said. "They are... they have the opportunity, but I think that they have to compete with the same... the same team. Right?"

Isler was then asked if she thinks transgender beauty queens should be disqualified.

"It's not my decision. I would like to have the power to make all of the decisions," she said, jokingly. "But, as a human being, you have to [have the opportunity] to realize... to make your dreams come true."

As HuffPo reports Olivia Culpo, who won Miss USA and Miss Universe in 2012, supported transgender contestants.

"I do think it would be fair," she said during the 2012 Miss USA pageant, "[because] there are so many people who have a need to change for a happier life. I do accept that because I believe it's a free country."

Las year, Talackova, from Vancouver, British Columbia, was initially booted from Canada's pageant because she was not born female. Donald Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization, overruled the decision, even though the rules state entrants must be "naturally born" females.

Officials from the Miss Universe Organization, however, released a statement on its Canada website that said Talackova can compete "provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions."

Though she did end up competing in the pageant, Talackova lost against Sahra Biniaz, who moved on to Miss Universe 2012. Talackova was one of four contestants to be named Miss Congeniality.