Miss Universe to allow transgender contestants

Jenna Talackova

GLAAD issued a joint announcement today with the Miss Universe Organization saying transgender women will be allowed to compete in the pageant beginning next year.

The change in policy happened weeks after Jenna Talackova, a contestant for the Miss Canada title, was disqualified because she’s transgender.

“For more than two weeks, the Miss Universe Organization and Mr. Trump made it clear to GLAAD that they were open to making a policy change to include women who are transgender,” GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick wrote in a press release. “We appreciate that he and his team responded swiftly and appropriately.”

GLAAD points out that the Olympics, NCAA, the Girl Scouts of America and America’s Next Top Model have all opened to transgender participants.

National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling issued a statement.

“No one likes it when they’re left out of something because of who they are,” Keisling said. “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.”

Trump co-owns the Miss Universe pageant with NBC. The NBC reality show star and former Republican presidential candidate made another surprising announcement recently when he said that he expected Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 and that he supported her.

—  David Taffet