As fun as it can be to ridicule Donald Trump (and he helps by consistently providing material), the CEO of self-promotion deserves positive recognition for a recent decision involving the Miss Universe contest.
Perhaps, even in the 21st century, there are still little girls who dream of growing up to be a beauty queen. Jenna Talackova, the Miss Universe Canada contestant, didn't—because she was a boy when she was a child. The stunning Talackova is now a woman, having gone through transgender surgery and treatment, and is competing for the Canadian crown in the Miss Universe contest. Talackova was initially rejected by pageant officials because of her transgender status, but the organization (which Trump heads) has reversed its decision, saying the 23-year-old could compete as long as she meets the "legal gender recognition" standards of Canada. Trump himself issued a statement wishing Talackova "the best of luck in her quest for the crown."
But that wasn't enough for celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, whose attraction to the camera is almost as strong as Trump's. Allred—who can turn any case into a feminist manifesto, unfortunately diminishing the legitimate concerns raised by real victims of harassment or discrimination—couldn't take yes for an answer. As she told the media this week:
Jenna entered this competition and gave the pageant her time, her best efforts, and her money. She did not think for one moment that what she might have looked like at birth would be relevant. She did not ask Mr. Trump to prove that he is a naturally-born man, or to see the photos of his birth, to view his anatomy, to prove that he was male. It made no difference to her. Why should it have made a difference to him?
Fair points, if Trump were still saying no. But Talackova is going to compete. She won her case and can now try to win the pageant. Was Allred just annoyed that she didn't have a chance to make some reference to Trump's reproductive organs? When you win, you cash your check and go home.
And is there any reason a transgender woman should not be allowed to compete? Beauty contests, after all, are competitions of appearance. If she now looks like a woman, what does it matter? And is gender-changing surgery any different than breast enhancement surgery, capped teeth, or any other artificial means a contestant might use to alter her appearance? Some purists might see Talackova's participation as ridiculous. In fact, it's beauty pageants that are ridiculous—not to mention insulting and anachronistic. But if that's what she wants to do, Trump should let her do it. And Allred should declare victory and go home.
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