[OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

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[OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Alice Macher » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:25 pm

Details at CTVNews.ca.

It's not often that a Canadian story makes international news, so it's interesting that a trans*-related story should do so.

In a nutshell: Jenna Talackova, 23, was born biologically male, says she's known she was female since she was four, began hormone therapy at 14 and had reassignment surgery at 19. The Miss Universe Canada competition rules state a contestant must be a "naturally-born female." It seems that Talackova claimed on her application that she met that requirement, but admitted the truth when a pageant organizer got suspicious and confronted her about it. (News reports don't specify why the organizer was suspicious, although there is apparently a YouTube video of her being interviewed for the 2010 Miss International Queen transgender/transsexual competition.) She was then disqualified and her name and photos removed from the pageant's website. She's now seeking legal advice, and there are already online petitions calling for her reinstatement.

My take: while Talackova did misrepresent herself on her application, so from a strict legal perspective the pageant was within its rights, the broader legal and moral question is whether the birth sex of a pageant contestant should make one bit of difference. I suspect it's rooted in the ciscentric and male-heterocentric assumption that a woman can't be attractive unless she was born female. This assumption, sadly, often turns up as a punchline in comedies, usually with the male characters visibly nauseated in reaction.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Artemisia » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:43 pm

I was discussing this over at PT, and yeah, she misrepresented herself, so no, she has no legal right on that front. Given that there are no qualifiers in there about plastic surgery, though, I don't think that the contest should disqualify her on that front. And, yes, I know that SRS is not cosmetic plastic surgery but corrective plastic surgery.

I did, though, say that I thought the young lady was rather not all that attractive, but then, my tastes never ran to the scrawny.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Ameyal » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:35 pm

Well, if she lied in her application, I don't see why she is complaining now.

She should have complained about the rule being silly *from the beginning*
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Alice Macher » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:56 pm

Yeah, again, she's pretty much up the creek from a legal perspective. If the pageant stood to get a lot of bad PR because of this, those in charge might change their minds. Unfortunately, I doubt sponsors and others who'd matter to the pageant will care enough to pressure them to change the rules, transphobic as those rules are. Someday, not too long from now, it's hoped the social climate will be different.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Artemisia » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:02 pm

Honestly, I've never liked beauty pageants since it often feels like a meat market for women, but yeah, the sponsors won't really care about it.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Alice Macher » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:10 pm

Beauty pageants overall aren't as popular as they once were, as the "meat market" perception you mention has become more widespread. I've never followed them, but that's what I've gathered from news bits in recent years, such as the Miss America pageant, once "the thing to watch" once a year, being reworked into a "reality show" in order to gain more viewers.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Freemage » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:11 pm

Ameyal wrote:Well, if she lied in her application, I don't see why she is complaining now.

She should have complained about the rule being silly *from the beginning*


Maybe she should have. OTOH, she should've never been put in the position of making that choice, either.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Valerie » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:16 pm

Freemage wrote:
Ameyal wrote:Well, if she lied in her application, I don't see why she is complaining now.

She should have complained about the rule being silly *from the beginning*


Maybe she should have. OTOH, she should've never been put in the position of making that choice, either.


Both of you are right, IMO. It's stupid that she lied, and it's stupid that she had to.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Artemisia » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:20 pm

Alice Macher wrote:Beauty pageants overall aren't as popular as they once were, as the "meat market" perception you mention has become more widespread. I've never followed them, but that's what I've gathered from news bits in recent years, such as the Miss America pageant, once "the thing to watch" once a year, being reworked into a "reality show" in order to gain more viewers.


That's pretty much it. I mean, it isn't helping things that the last time there was any real interest in Miss America was when Carrie Prejean showed off her homophobia, and that was, what, 2009? Anyone remember last years?
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby EagleEye » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:26 pm

Valerie wrote:
Freemage wrote:
Ameyal wrote:Well, if she lied in her application, I don't see why she is complaining now.

She should have complained about the rule being silly *from the beginning*


Maybe she should have. OTOH, she should've never been put in the position of making that choice, either.


Both of you are right, IMO. It's stupid that she lied, and it's stupid that she had to.


When should it not matter how you were born in terms of physical parts, and when should it not? I don't think for beauty pageants that it should matter (putting aside my distaste for them in general), so in this case, i agree, she should not have had to lie. But what if you were born male, then had sex reassignment surgery and wanted to compete in the Olympics as a female? Male marathoners are faster than female marathoners, holding constant the level of talent and natural ability. So in that case, an MtF trans individual might conceivably have an advantage over the other female runners. I'm just wondering what people think about that situation. I know that's not the case that's in the news, but it got me thinking about it.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Doc Harleen » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:51 pm

I would love to see Ms. Talackova respond to this by working to set up a pageant of her own, for anyone identifying as female (both "naturally-born" - to use Miss Universe's term - or not). There's no question it would get media attention, and I think it would be a really positive response to a negative experience.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby belniente » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:04 pm

EagleEye wrote:
Valerie wrote:
Freemage wrote:
Ameyal wrote:Well, if she lied in her application, I don't see why she is complaining now.

She should have complained about the rule being silly *from the beginning*


Maybe she should have. OTOH, she should've never been put in the position of making that choice, either.


Both of you are right, IMO. It's stupid that she lied, and it's stupid that she had to.


When should it not matter how you were born in terms of physical parts, and when should it not? I don't think for beauty pageants that it should matter (putting aside my distaste for them in general), so in this case, i agree, she should not have had to lie. But what if you were born male, then had sex reassignment surgery and wanted to compete in the Olympics as a female? Male marathoners are faster than female marathoners, holding constant the level of talent and natural ability. So in that case, an MtF trans individual might conceivably have an advantage over the other female runners. I'm just wondering what people think about that situation. I know that's not the case that's in the news, but it got me thinking about it.


But what about men makes them better runners? In theory, the different hormone balance - which after reassignment surgery would likely be artificially controlled, which could in theory remove the superiority. Then again, this is all blatant guessing from me - I'm not aware of any studies on the physical prowess of trans persons as compared to cis, and I have only cursory knowledge of sex reassignment.

Genetics are extremely and increasingly important in medical terms (as a future pharmacist my first thought is trends in allergy/altered metabolism/side effects), but I suspect that in most competitions someone who has had sex reassignment would not be at an advantage if they are also on hormone therapy. That said I'm no expert, and we haven't gone over hormone therapy in my classes yet.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby Artemisia » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:25 pm

What the Olympic Committee found was that, after a few years, the difference between a trans woman and a ciswoman in terms of athletic ability was negligible. That is why they lifted the ban on trans athletes, and why when Caster Semenya was found to be very mildly intersexed, they let her back in after the investigation.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby NobodySpecial » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:00 pm

But what about men makes them better runners? In theory, the different hormone balance - which after reassignment surgery would likely be artificially controlled, which could in theory remove the superiority. Then again, this is all blatant guessing from me - I'm not aware of any studies on the physical prowess of trans persons as compared to cis, and I have only cursory knowledge of sex reassignment.


I'd also think greater muscle mass helps as well.
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Re: [OT] Trans* Miss Universe Canada contestant disqualified

Postby child-of-fae » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:20 pm

i was really curious as to what one of my close friends has to say on the matter (she's finally won a pageant and is now Junior Miss New Jersey) but she hasn't gotten back to me.

when i first heard the story it didn't say that she lied on her forms. that really sucks, legal-wise :(
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