Jenna TalackovaTwenty-three year old Jenna Telackova was born a boy. She knew she was a girl by the age of four. By fourteen, she started hormone therapy and had sex reassignment surgery at nineteen. Jenna describes herself as, “a woman with a past.” However, Miss Universe Canada officials have banned Jenna from participating in the pageant finals to be held in Toronto in May, 2012. She was one of sixty-five women chosen to compete in the national contest. Denis Davila, National Director of Miss Universe Canada, asserts that every contestant must be a “naturally born female.” Critics of the decision claim that the rules do not specifically address sex change or plastic surgery. Jenna is calling it a human rights issue, having previously competed in both transsexual and women’s beauty pageants. “All I can say is that they disqualified me because I’m not ‘natural born.’ That doesn’t make sense because since I was conscious, I always felt this way.” After being disqualified, Jenna tweeted, “I’m disqualified, however I’m not giving up. I’m not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination.” Meanwhile, online support for the beauty queen is growing. So far, over twenty-one thousand people have signed a petition demanding she be allowed to compete. It reads, “She is a woman and deserves to be treated as any other woman would be.” I can’t say that I completely agree with beauty pageants in general, as I’m really turned off by the idea of judging another human being completely on their appearance. This is awful. Even if perhaps the contest rules and procedures state that contestants must be “natural born females,” I do believe that is discriminatory. Not to mention, sex changes are becoming so much more common that perhaps those rules should be revised. I hate the idea of a woman (natural born or not) having to conform to any standard. It would be a positive thing for these types of contests to be more open and accepting to different types of people.