LOS ANGELES — A sex-change model barred from Canada’s Miss Universe contest demanded Tuesday that Donald Trump clarify her position despite a U-turn by organizers, sparking a colorful exchange about the tycoon’s manhood.
Jenna Talackova, 23, had complained after being disqualified from the contest, which chooses Canada’s candidate for the Miss Universe Competition — co-owned by Trump — because she used to be male.
In an about-face announced hours before she appeared with her celebrity lawyer in Los Angeles to protest about discrimination, the Miss Universe Organization said it could allow her to take part.
But it said she must meet “the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions.”
Talackova was not happy with that wording, and called on real estate tycoon Trump, who co-owns the Miss Universe organization with NBC Universal, to step in to ensure that she can take part whatever Canadian authorities say.
“I am a woman. I was devastated .. I have never asked for any special consideration, I only wanted to compete. I saw the statement by Mr. Trump’s representative and I found it quite confusing,” she said.
“I wish Mr. Trump would just say in plain words whether or not I would be allowed to compete and, if I win, whether I will be allowed to represent Canada in the Miss Universe competition.”
Despite being born with male genitals, Talackova said in a 2010 interview that she knew she was a woman from a young age, began hormone therapy at 14, and had surgery to change her gender when she was 19.
Talackova, who was selected among some 65 finalists for the 2012 competition, believes she was disqualified because of her sex change.
Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred said Talackova was “thrilled to be selected as one of the finalists in Canada and was looking forward to the May 17th to May 19th 2012 dates, at which time Miss Universe Canada will be chosen.”
“However Jenna was shocked when she was told that she was not be permitted to continue to compete for Miss Canada because of the rule that… requires that the contestant be a ‘naturally born’ woman.
“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,” she said.
But Trump said he would not apologize for the initial decision.
“There will be no apology whatsoever,” he told TMZ, adding: “If (Talackova) can compete that’s great. If she doesn’t want to compete because she doesn’t think she’ll win, that’s fine. I couldn’t care less.”
And referring to Allred’s comments about his penis, he added: “I think Gloria would be very, very impressed with me.”
More than 28,000 supporters had signed an online petition demanding the reinstatement of the transgender model, from the western Canadian city of Vancouver.
On Tuesday she said the “naturally-born woman” rule should be cut. “I want Mr. Trump to clearly state that this rule will be eliminated, because I do not want any other woman to suffer the discrimination that I had endured.”