Wednesday, April 4, 2012

YOU GO GIRL! Transgender Woman Fights To Be Included In Miss Universe Pageant

Today's article is dedicated to Canada's Jenna Talackova. Jenna, 23, is a stunningly beautiful transgender woman who was recently told by the Miss Universe pageant that she could not participate in the contest because she was born male.  Talackova has said in many interviews that she knew she was a girl by time she was the age of four, began hormone therapy at 14, and underwent surgery four years ago. Her passport and birth certificate both identify Jenna as being female.

To this writer, Jenna Talackova's refusal to acquiesce to the dismissal by Miss Universe is akin to Rosa Parks' historic and bold decision to not sit at the back of the bus because she was an African-American.

The world, and our understanding of humanity continues to evolve.  At times in our history,

  1. Having African-Americans as slaves was the norm.
  2. Inter-racial marriage was deemed unacceptable.
  3. Women were basically supposed to be "happy housewives" who pumped out offspring to continue the family name.
  4. Individuals with a mental illness were locked up in inhumane asylums and often lobotomized. 
Now, while there has been much progress, members of the LGBTQ community still face discrimination and attacks within their homes, workplaces, and society in general.

One by one, like Martin Luther King, Jr and all the progressive leaders in the South, we must participate in our or own march - whether it be by writing our political representatives, making efforts to understand a community of human beings we have previously marginalized, or even by merely sitting down with someone we know who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, in order to gain more understanding.

I unequivocally reject the suggestion that members of the rainbow community are on a mission to ruin the fabric of society. And the suggestion that they have chosen their sexuality is for the most part laughable. 

Did African-Americans decide at birth to be black so that they could be subject to segregation, apartheid, and bombings? 

Did women choose to be born female so that they couldn't receive equal pay and be seen as the weaker of the sexes?

And so I end this article with the question: Did Jenna Talackova choose to become the woman she was born to be in order to be seen as a freak who could not participate in a beauty pageant?  For that matter, does the gay community choose to be cast aside by family and friends and even face the fear of death in many countries?


As Lady Gaga so aptly states, "I was born this way." As for me, I will do my part to work for not only the inclusion of the LGBTQ community, but for the embracing of it.

Mark Andrew Alward
Kitchener-Centre's New Democrats - LGBTQ Representative