In response to news that the Miss Universe Organization will announce a final policy allowing transgender women to participate in its beauty pageants, NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said:
“No one likes it when they’re left out of something because of who they are. This is especially true for transgender people—people like Jenna Talackova—who are denied opportunities because they’re told that who they are is ‘unnatural.’ So I get that Jenna probably still doesn’t feel good about the situation. But it’s a noteworthy thing for a group like the Miss Universe Organization and Donald Trump to switch positions allowing Jenna to participate, and to commit to developing transgender inclusive rules. This is a good thing, and it’s a sign of how more and more people get trans issues.”
NCTE recognizes the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and other groups for quickly engaging senior levels of the organization including its owner, Donald Trump, to update the policy. We have spoken out about Jenna’s experience and have provided GLAAD with resources to assist the Miss Universe Organization in developing their final policy.
Keisling added, “We thank Jenna for standing up for herself and for all of us. Her case is just one in hundreds of examples where a person has something taken away—a job, a house, or a loved one—because they’re trans. And not every trans person gets access to legal representation to help them. There are too many other stories of trans people who experience unbearable circumstances. The support Jenna has received must also support other trans people. And I believe that progress here can influence change in other places that impact our lives.”
NCTE understands the legitimate position that beauty pageants reinforce narrow standards of women’s beauty. However, we will always support any trans person who is facing discrimination.