Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova (pictured) has been disqualified after contest officials discovered she was transgender.
The disqualification came about after officials discovered Talackova was born male, leading them to claim she lied on her application form.
“She was dishonest,” said Denis Davila, director of Miss Universe Canada. “We have to have the facts straight. There is no discrimination here at all…You can look at it the way she wants to look at it, but we all have to follow the same rules.”
Having been selected as one of 65 finalists for the 2012 competition to be held in May, Talackova claims she was unfairly treated on the grounds of her gender status.
She took to her newly created Twitter page, writing “I’m not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination” and “Disqualified for being born? Really? I don’t think so.”
Miss Universe Canada contestants must meet a basic requirement of being a Canadian citizen and between the ages of 18 and 27 to compete.
They also must not be married, pregnant, and have to fill out a more comprehensive form if they meet the basic requirements but there is no mention of rules regarding sex-changes or cosmetic surgery.
This is not the only thing missing from the competition website however – when the announcement for her disqualification was finalised, officials removed her public profile.
Marie Little, Chair of the Trans Alliance Society, a group that supports gender diversity in Vancouver, said she believes the incident is a “clear case of discrimination.”
“We are born this way,” she said. “It’s just an accident of birth that the body disagrees with the brain.”
Following her expulsion from the competition, many fans have signed on to Change.org to show their support.
With over 41,000 signatures gathered to date, the petition aims to get Talackova “reinstated as a contestant, since she was unfairly disqualified.”
However, Davila did offer some words of support for the ousted contender. “We do respect her goals, determination and wish her the best,” he said. “Just because she can’t compete doesn’t mean we stopped loving her.”