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Transgendered woman a pageant finalist

May 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

TORONTO, May 20 (UPI) -- A transgendered woman was one of the final 12 contestants for Miss Universe Canada and was a finalist for the Miss Congeniality award, the organization said.

Jenna Talackova, 23, was the first transgendered person to take a place in a Miss Universe pageant Saturday after the organization, owned by Donald Trump, reversed a previous decision to disqualify the Vancouver woman for not being a "naturally born female," the Toronto Star reported.

Susan Gapka, chair of Toronto's Trans Lobby Group, said she believes Talackova has brought awareness to the issue.

"Jenna has broken down a barrier for social inclusion in the beauty pageant," she said. "She's a winner in our eyes as a woman, a trans, an activist and a beauty queen."

Sahar Biniaz, 26, of Vancouver, won the Miss Universe Canada competition held in Toronto.

Talackova underwent gender-altering surgery when she was 19 after seven years of hormone therapy.

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