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Miss Universe pageant will allow transgender women

Jenna Talackova, a contestant for Canada's Miss Universe pageant, speaks during a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred on April 3, 2012.

April 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Miss Universe pageant will allow transgender women to compete in next year's contest, pageant officials announced on Tuesday.

The move comes five days after pageant officials ruled Jenna Talackova could compete in this year's pageant. Talackova was born a male, but the 23-year-old Canadian underwent a sex change four years ago.

The official rule change will have to be approved by tycoon Donald Trump and NBC, the co-owners of the Miss Universe pageant.

"We want to give credit where credit is due, and the decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions with GLAAD," said Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization. "We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously."

Trials for next year's Miss Universe pageant begin this summer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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