Global gender issues:

March 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

Global gender issues: With how much I am on the internet, you would think that I would all know about all kinds of things that were going on in the world, particularly dealing with gender. After all, I follow the blog SexGenderBody and on a daily basis they post about some sort of injustice that is happening with the world, pertaining to, surprise surprise, sex, gender, and bodies. But here I was, still sitting here at 4pm on Thursday afternoon when this blog is due in less than twenty-four hours. I googled “global gender issues” in hopes that it would lead me to somewhere, but surprisingly, that got me nowhere. What was I going to do? Am I just going to keep going throughout my day, hoping that something was just going to pop into my head? I began to play around with an idea in my head that I had been considering this assignment was assigned. Thailand. Transsexuals. Thai transsexuals. Perfect. I have been interested in Asian culture since God knows when, and transsexuals were always something that I was interested in. And that’s when it finally hit me. No, not just Thai transsexuals, but just within the last week, a finalist of Miss Universe Canada were disqualified for being born a boy. And now I found my topic.

So in case you have no idea what has been going on, let me fill you in. Just a few days ago, a woman named Jenna Talackova became a finalist (along with 64 other women) of Miss Universe Canada. The title would give the chance for the winner to “honor of representing her country.” On March 23, 2012, the Miss Universe Canada’s website (http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/) made an announcement that one of their contestants, Talackova will “not compete” in this years competition. To quote the website:

Jenna Talackova will not compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition. Jenna Talackova from Vancouver, British Columbia will not compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition because she did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form. We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best.

Organizers say Talackova lied about having undergone sexual reassignment surgery, but I am not too sure about how true this was. And even if she was born a male, what does it matter? Talackova is legally and physically a woman now, and isn’t it the present that matters the most about these competitions?

“As with any competition, the Miss Universe pageant has rules which apply to all of its franchises around the world. Such rules include, but are not limited to, citizenship, age, and marital status requirements. Additionally, the rules currently state that all contestants must be naturally born females,” the Miss Universe Organization said.

As CNN states in their article about the situation, the rules are not posted on the website, so whether or not that holds true or not is not available to the public.

Ever since this announcement was made, a huge controversy started. A petition on Change.org was made in order to try to reverse the disqualification, and not even a week after the announcement was made, 44,544 people have already signed it. “Her being trans represents that it was harder for her than most to get where she is today, and that make her the perfect Miss Universe contestant,” said a signer. People have begun to criticize the pageant on Miss Universe Canada’s Facebook page. Upon looking at these comments, many of them are shaming the competition and saying that these actions are appalling. A few of these comments are such as “Perhaps you’re unaware that the Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination based on gender identity,” and “If your requirement is that only women who were born in the right body can compete, then you should probably change the requirements.”

These “requirements” were apparently that all contestants had to be born female in order to compete. I found this out by SexGenderBody, and for this post, I decided to read a few more articles about the incident.

Apparently Talackova headed to her Twitter once the decision was made, and said, “”I’m not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination. I’m not giving up.”

Now without a doubt there are people who support Miss Universe Canada’s decision, but those people are not so easy to find even on the internet. For most of the articles and comments I have seen about it, it is expressing the outrage of this disqualification. And I would have to say that I am fully a part of this outrage. So far the only support for this decision was from a poll that I found on theweek.com. They asked the question “Should beauty pageants be allowed to ban transgender contestants?” and the results are as followed:

29% say No. This is unfair discrimination.

13% say Yes. Allowing transgender contestants tilts the playing field.

21% say No. If contestants can have nose jobs, why not sex changes?

37% say Yes. Private organizations have the right to as they see fit.

This controversy brings up the whole question of how and when a person is considered male or female. Some believe that once you were born something, that is what you are for life. Others believe that once you change sex, then your reassignment is what you are. And others believe that you are what you feel that you are, surgery or not. Talackova knew that she was a girl ever since she was four years old. At fourteen, she began to take hormones and finally at nineteen, she underwent gender reassignment surgery.

There are pageants, which are specifically for transgendered woman, but they seem to be few and far in-between. The World’s Most Beautiful Transsexual Contest was only held once in 2004, and Thailand’s Miss Tiffany’s Universe, which is “is internationally recognized as one of the largest and most colorful transgender beauty pageants in the world.” With these two, it shows how transgendered women do not get many chances to compete, but the question as to why they even need their own competition instead of just joining other women comes up. If someone who looks like acts like, feels like a “natural woman,” then why is she not allowed to compete with all the other women? Some believe that this is an unfair advantage, but I do not see anyone being disqualified over some plastic surgery.

Boyette, Chris. “Miss Universe Pageant Ousts Transgender Contestant.” CNN. Cable News Network, 27 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2012.             <http://articles.cnn.com/2012-03-27/americas/world_americas_miss-universe-transgender-contestant_1_pageant-miss-universe-organization- contestant?_s=PM:AMERICAS>.

Le Fevre, John. “Thailand Transexuals Compete for Miss Tiffany’s Universe    2011beauty Queen Title.” Photo-journ’s Newsblog, 20 Apr. 2011. Web. 29 Mar. 2012.

<http://photo-journ.com/2011/thailands-most-beautiful-ladyboys-line-up- for-miss-tiffanys-universe-2011>.

“Jenna Talackova’s Disqualification from Miss Universe Canada Sparks Fresh Outrage.” National Post. National Post Wire Services, 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2012. <http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/29/jenna-talackovas-  disqualification-from-miss-universe-canada-sparks-fresh-outrage/>.

“Miss Universe Canada | Facebook.” Facebook.com. Web. 29 Mar. 2012.

<http://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-Universe-Canada/131659650240205>.

“Should Transgender Contestants Be Banned from Beauty Pageants?” The Week. 27 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2012.          <http://theweek.com/article/index/226092/should-transgender-contestants-be-banned-from-beauty-pageants>.

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§ One Response to Global gender issues:

  • smschutt says:

    This is a very interesting topic, I am glad you stumbled upon this. I have to agree with you and many others, her disqualification was not fair. I think people do not want to look at the facts, they have set in there mind that transgender is wrong. The fact is that having plastic surgery on you nose or on your genitals is still a reconstructing surgery and both alter your image. So when they say that a transgender is at an unfair advantage than so too is the girl with the fake boobs or fake nose. This young lady needs to be treated for who she is not what she was. In all honestly I feel like it was none of the pageants business knowing she was a male.

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