Last we heard of Vancouver's Jenna Talackova, she had been booted from the Miss Universe Canada pageant for having been born with a penis instead of a vagina, thus failing to meet the pageant's stringent entry requirements. (I always thought the only requirements for participating in a beauty pageant were blindingly white teeth and the Jedi-like ability to maintain a neutral stance on any issue from health-care reform to breakfast cereal, so go figure.)
Although Talackova had sex-reassignment surgery four years ago, the pageant board refused to allow her re-entry into the pageant, leading her to enlist the services of celeb super-lawyer Gloria Allred. With Allred's help, Talackova managed to convince Miss Universe founder/super-merkin Donald Trump to let her back in the competition. Tonight, she'll be making history as the first-ever transgender contestant to participate in the Miss Universe pageant, strutting her stuff in front of a panel of all-star judges like designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan of HGTV's Home Heist, The Kennedys actor Kristin Booth, singer Kreesha Turner, and a bunch of other people who are only famous in Canada.
Talackova, who is representing Vancouver in the competition, is one of sixty-two contestants vying for the Miss Universe crown (the winner will be announced this Saturday). Although her case has attracted a fair amount of media attention over the past few months, she insists that she takes all the publicity in stride. "There's a lot of attention, but it's attention in a good way," she says. "It's a good cause, right? It's for equality." Indeed, Jenna. Equality. Also, boobs. And hair. And legs that look like they've been dipped in salad dressing. But mostly, equality and social justice and such.
…and boobs. Sorry, just saying. But good luck tonight, Jenna! Kick some ass and take some names, or whatever the Canadian equivalent of that phrase is.