Jenna Talackova – Before
When you stop to think about the real heroes of the LGBT community, the first people that come to mind are the activists – those who protest long and hard to repeal and make new laws. But sometimes, it doesn’t take a new foundation or vigorous debate. Sometimes, to change the face of public perception forever, all it takes is one simple stance and the courage to follow it through. Jenna Talackova was that woman. Her life was always going to be an interesting one, born in Vancouver to a Babine First Nation mother and Czech father, and things only got more interesting when throughout her early childhood she experienced a keen sense of gender dysphoria. She began her transition at age 14, and completed reassignment surgery at age 19. Then, when she was 22, she changed the world.
Jenna Talackova – After
In 2010, Jenna competed in the Miss International Queen pageant for transsexual and transgender women in Thailand. The result was encouraging, although she didn’t win, so she made the next logical step: she applied to compete in the Miss Universe competition in 2012. Only after registering and becoming one of the top 65 applicants, she was disqualified for being born male.She fought, and won, and was allowed to compete, in a landmark decision that paved the way for greater recognition of LGBT rights across the world. The most fascinating part of the story is that she was essentially fighting Donald Trump, the owner of the Miss Universe competition, a man with a very shaky history with regards to LGBT rights. This was one woman who finally got him to back down, and we’re all better off because of it.