The roller-coaster ride that has been Jenna Talackova's journey to the Miss Universe Canada beauty pageant has had more ups and downs than a blackjack player at one of Donald Trump's casinos.
The 23-year-old Vancouver-born stunner appears to have all the attributes necessary to take a run at the title. She's beautiful, blond and articulate, too.
What's the problem? Well, Jenna was born a boy. She's a he, or at least she was.
Despite having taken hormone therapy since her early teens and undergoing sex reassignment surgery in 2010, Talackova was dropped from the pageant a couple of weeks ago when it was discovered she was not a "natural-born woman."
What to do? Well, Talackova did what just about anybody else in her position would do. She lawyered up and held a news conference in Los Angeles where she challenged Trump, who owns the Miss Universe pageant, to cowboy up and clear the way for a transgendered person to enter the contest.
Trump obliged this week on Good Morning America, where he sucked in the free publicity, wished Talackova luck and opened up the possibility for others to take part.
"Probably, we'll have to open it up from that standpoint," he said. "Because if it's in Canada and if it's in the United States in terms of their laws and if other countries don't necessarily have those laws . . . it wouldn't be fair to just take certain countries."
Trump went on: "The laws are very clear. So, based on that about two days ago, we decided to let her compete and we hope she does well."
Assuming Talackova can clear the few remaining hurdles that might prevent her from taking part in the Miss Universe Canada contest, there are 64 other finalists she'll have to get by in order to represent our nation in the Miss Universe Pageant later in the year.
And even if Trump and company are prepared to open their arms to a transgendered beauty queen, the big question remains: Are Canadians ready to have somebody like Talackova represent them at an international pageant?
As much as we might like to think so, probably not.
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