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Beauty queen who was born a male can compete if she meets Canadian gender requirements

Jenna Talackova, 23, was disqualified from the Donald Trump-organized Miss Universe Canada competition last week because she was born a male.

The Canadian Press/The Canadian Press

Jenna Talackova, the Vancouver beauty queen who was kicked out of the Miss Universe Canada competition, will be allowed to compete if certain gender recognition requirements are met.

Ms. Talackova, 23, was disqualified from the Donald Trump-organized Miss Universe Canada competition last week because she was born a male. She had been originally selected as one of 65 finalists, but her profile and photos were stripped from the Miss Universe Canada website after she was dropped from the pageant.

On Monday, however, the Trump organization backtracked on its earlier decision, ABC News reported.

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"The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions," Michael D. Cohen, executive vice-president and special counsel to Donald Trump, said in an e-mail.

Although the rules on the Miss Universe website say a female entrant must be a Canadian citizen between the ages of 18 and 27, it does not mention any rules involving sexual reassignment. In an interview posted on YouTube, Ms. Talackova says she began hormone therapy at 14 and had her reassignment surgery at 19.

Ms. Talackova and her U.S. attorney, Gloria Allred, were scheduled to hold a news conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday to plead the beauty queen's case on why she ought to be allowed to compete and outline legal action should the Trump organization continue to reject her.

There's no word yet from Ms. Talackova responding to Monday's announcement.

Back in B.C., Canadian lawyer Joseph Arvay, who said he was retained over the weekend, said he hopes the announcement means Ms. Talackova can compete but he's not yet sure.

"It's gobbledygook to me," Mr. Arvay said of the announcement.

When talking about the legal gender recognition requirements in Canada, human-rights laws in B.C. and Ontario apply, he said, adding those laws "prohibit discrimination based on being transgendered."

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"So one would think that she therefore meets the legal gender requirements in Canada."

Mr. Arvay said he has been given instructions to begin legal proceedings against pageant organizers on the grounds that they've discriminated against Ms. Talackova and he hopes developments on Tuesday add clarity to the situation.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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