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Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin Quits, Citing Rigged Pageant, Policy on Transgender Contestants: VIDEO

The reigning Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin quit the organization this week over its acceptance of transgender contestants but then changed her excuse to charge the pageant with being rigged, E! Online reports:

MonninIn a transcript of the email said to be from Mommim and provided by the Miss Universe Organization, the 27-year-old from Cranberry, Penn., wrote that she refused to be "part of a pageant system that has so far and so completely removed itself from its foundational principles as to allow and support natural born males to compete in it. This goes against ever moral fiber of my being. I believe in integrity, high moral character, and fair play, none of which are part of this system any longer."

Monnin claims on Facebook that she saw a list with the top 5 contestants before the pageant.

The Miss USA Pageant released a statement:

"The Miss Universe Organization can confirm the resignation of the Pennsylvania title holder after she did not place in the Top 16 at the Miss USA pageant," the pageant purveyor said in a statement to E! News.

"In an email to state pageant organizers, she cited the Miss Universe Organization's policy regarding transgendered contestants, implemented two months ago, as the reason for her resignation. Today she has changed her story by publicly making false accusations claiming that the pageant was fixed, however the contestant she privately sourced as her reference has vehemently refuted her most recent claim. We are disappointed that she would attempt to steal the spotlight from Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island on her well-deserved Miss USA win."

On the Today Show, Donald Trump attacked Monnin and said he would sue her.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE: GLAAD and the National Center for Transgender Equality have responded to Monnin's resignation.

Said Mara Keisling, President of National Center for Transgender Equality: "As a trans person and a Pennsylvanian, I'm disappointed that the now former Miss Pennsylvania feels such bigotry toward trans people. She says she is upset about a lack of honesty and fair play in the contest, but the real lack of honesty may be her unwillingness to publicly express her apparent transphobia. There is also a real need for allowing honestly by trans women who are being their true selves.”
 
Said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick: “Sheena Monnin apparently decided to quit, rather than be aligned with an organization that treats all women as women. As more and more Americans get to know transgender people in their communities, in the workplace, and through the media, they are discovering the humanity that society has refused to acknowledge for so long. Monnin is out of touch with fair-minded Americans who believe that trans men and women are worthy of the same dignity, respect, and opportunity as all other men and women."

Continue reading "Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin Quits, Citing Rigged Pageant, Policy on Transgender Contestants: VIDEO" »


Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo Wins Miss USA Moments After Voicing Support for Transgender Pageant Contestants: VIDEO

Culpo

Olivia Culpo, a 20-year-old cellist from Rhode Island, took home the Miss USA crown last night moments after answering a Twitter question read aloud by judge Rob Kardashian, asking, "Would you feel it would be fair that a transgender woman wins the Miss USA title over a natural-born woman?"

Answered Culpo:

"I do think that that would be fair but I can understand that people would be a little apprehensive to take that road because there is a tradition of natural-born women, but today where there are so many surgeries and so many people out there who have a need to change for a happier life, I do accept that because I believe it's a free country."

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Ri_trans

Continue reading "Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo Wins Miss USA Moments After Voicing Support for Transgender Pageant Contestants: VIDEO" »


Miss North Carolina Hailey Best is Voting Against Amendment One: VIDEO

Missnc

Hailey Best, Miss North Carolina, is voting against Amendment One today. Call all your friends and relatives in NC and ask them to do so as well.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Find your polling station HERE.

Continue reading "Miss North Carolina Hailey Best is Voting Against Amendment One: VIDEO" »


Miss Universe Organization, GLAAD Finalize Policy Change Allowing Transgender Contestants

GLAAD announced this morning that after a series of meetings, the Miss Universe Organization has changed its policy allowing transgender women to compete in its competition:

Jenna_talackova"GLAAD first contacted the Miss Universe Organization on Saturday, March 24 after news broke that Jenna Talackova was disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition. GLAAD called on the Miss Universe Organization to review Jenna's case, as well as open the competition to transgender women. After unsuccessful attempts to reach Jenna Talackova personally, the Miss Universe Organization and its owner Donald J. Trump moved forward and announced last week it would allow Jenna to compete. To further demonstrate its commitment, the organization, in consultation with GLAAD, discussed a policy change that includes transgender women in time for the start of this fall’s 2013 pageant season; a time when most of the competitions around the world begin to take place."

Said GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick:

"For more than two weeks, the Miss Universe Organization and Mr. Trump made it clear to GLAAD that they were open to making a policy change to include women who are transgender. We appreciate that he and his team responded swiftly and appropriately. The Miss Universe Organization today follows institutions that have taken a stand against discrimination of transgender women including the Olympics, NCAA, the Girl Scouts of America and The CW’s America’s Next Top Model. Jenna and all of the LGBT advocates who have called for this change and spoken out in support of transgender women are to be commended. At a time when transgender people are still routinely denied equal opportunities in housing, employment and medical care, today’s decision is in line with the growing levels of public support for transgender people across the country.”

AllredGLAAD also noted in its announcement that the policy change was made not in collaboration with Talackova's attorney Gloria Allred, but in spite of her. It made special note that: "The decision to allow Jenna Talackova to compete was determined following discussions made prior to Gloria Allred’s public involvement."

Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, also offered this statement:

“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 and not Jenna’s legal representation, which if anything delayed the process. We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously.”

Allred has been escorting Talackova to shows like 20/20 and The View on a media blitz that has been accompanied by a sideshow Allred-Trump feud over Trump's genitals.


New Zealand Man Crowned 'Mr. Gay World' in Johannesburg: PHOTOS

Derleth

Andreas Derleth, a stationery store manager from New Zealand, won the Mr. Gay World 2012 competition in Johannesburg over the weekend, StuffNZ reports:

The Mr Gay competition took place over four days and included various challenges, including a photo, sports, fashion, swim suit, public speaking, and local outreach challenges. On the contest's website, it said the winner would not only have the inner beauty of confidence, self-assurance, charisma and natural leadership abilities, but would also take care of his physical beauty. Prizes included $25,000 in travel vouchers to enable the winner to spread his message around the world.

NamibiaThe contest's location, in Johannesburg, drew attention to the plight of gay people in the region as several of the African contestants faced threats:

Namibia's representative, 24-year-old Wendelinus Hamutenya, was hospitalised after being attacked in early December. Ethiopian contestant Robel Hailu, a 25-year-old student in South Africa, received death threats and was disinherited by his wealthy family. South Africa, which won the contest in 2010 and 2011, was represented by a white local councillor from the Eastern Cape, Lance Weyer. "The African delegates are very brave. No one in the West or even in South Africa can get close to understanding the extremely high levels of persecution on this continent. I am proud to be part of a generation of Africans that is prepared to stand up for who we are,'' said 24 year-old Mr Weyer.

Mr Gay World is classed as a beauty pageant but the South African organisers were at pains to stress that the event was more about advocacy than abdominals. The contest had no upper age limit and the top prize was a fairly modest 50,000 Rands (£4,000).

Over four days, contestants were tested on their knowledge of LGBTI issues, put through a wildlife drill, invited for cocktails at the Belgian embassy and put through the rigours of a swimsuit contest. They spent an afternoon doing HIV outreach work before last night's gala finale at the Gold Reef City casino in Johannesburg.

The AP looked at the pageant's influence in Africa:

"I hope and I believe that Namibia will be the second country in Africa to recognize the rights" of gays, Hamutenya said in an interview.

The first country is South Africa, also the first African country to host Mr. Gay World, which debuted in 2009 in Canada. The bill of rights adopted after apartheid ended in South Africa in 1994 explicitly bans discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Same-sex couples can marry and adopt children in South Africa.

Teboha Maitse, acting chairman of South Africa's Commission for Gender Equality, said she fought white racist rule alongside openly gay comrades, and that experience made her and others aware of the need to enact legal protections for gays. But she said when she travels farther north, "people say, 'You South Africans, you don't behave like Africans.'"

Gayworld

Derleth's partner Tom Linn reacted to the news:

Mr_Gay_World"I'm ecstatic to learn that my beloved partner Andy has been crowned Mr Gay World 2012. He is a non-pretentious, friendly and generous person with great ideas and wisdom, who lives within his means and discipline and true to his words. He worked extra hard in thorough preparations for the Mr Gay World 2012 contest and he truly deserved to win the title."

Watch a slideshow of the "sport" competition, AFTER THE JUMP...

And here's another slideshow on Flickr.

Continue reading "New Zealand Man Crowned 'Mr. Gay World' in Johannesburg: PHOTOS" »


Barbara Walters Interviews Trans Pageant Beauty Jenna Talackova, Gloria Allred, and Donald Trump: VIDEO

Walters

On last night's 20/20, Barbara Walters sat down with Jenna Talackova, the Canadian transgender Miss Universe contestant who was rejected (and later reinstated) to the competition after officials discovered that she is transgender.

Walters wastes no time diving into the physical aspects of Talackova's experience, speaking to Talackova about her childhood, her transition, her sexuality, how she took her name (her mother suggested it), and why she decided to enter the pageant.

Said Talackova: "I feel like the universe, the creator put me in this position as an advocate. If it's helping anyone else, and my story, then I feel great about it."

JennatalWalters also talks to attorney Gloria Allred, and Donald Trump about their public barbs this week over Talackova, in which Trump appeared on TMZ and boasted about the impressive size of his genitalia.

Trump, in his interview with 20/20, comes up with a bizarre, paranoid and offensive theory that Talackova has an "ulterior motive" because the first letters of her name spell "JENNATAL".

Says Allred: "With all due respect to Mr. Trump, he really needs to stop being focused on genitals. His, or anyone else's. This world does not revolve around his penis or anyone else's genitalia. Whether a person is a woman is not simply defined by her genitalia."

Watch the full segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Barbara Walters Interviews Trans Pageant Beauty Jenna Talackova, Gloria Allred, and Donald Trump: VIDEO" »


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