Transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova named Vancouver Pride Parade grand marshal

Vancouverite Jenna Talackova has been named one of three grand marshals of the 2012 Vancouver Pride Parade, which will be held in the West End on August 5.

Talackova came into the public eye when she won a high-profile fight against the Miss Universe Organization to become the first transgender contestant to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant. While Talackova was a top-12 finalist in the May 20 pageant, the 23-year-old lost the title of “Miss Universe Canada” to another Vancouver woman. Talackova, however, was named “Miss Congeniality” in a four-way tie.

The other grand marshals will be sports pioneer Bill Monroe and community activist David Holtzman (posthumously), who died of a heart attack on April 10.

You can follow Michelle da Silva on Twitter at twitter.com/michdas.

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Comments (7) Add New Comment
JamieLee

I believe that Beauty Queen Jenna Talackova had the right to compete as female in the Miss Universe Pageant. But I think it premature that she is being named a Grand Marshall in our Pride Parade. She has no history within the LGBT Community and has not done anything to assist in helping others in our LGBT community,. I wish her no will ill but this type of honour should be reserved for those who have a body of acccomplishments or an ongoing element of service to the community. Of course advancing our rights in some way should also be duly acknowledged, however, I don't see entering a beauty pageant as advancing our human rights, especially since beauty pageants are typically not about the LGBT lifestyle but more about beauty of women appealing to heterosexual men. Is this what PRIDE has come to?
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Bill
^yes
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Shannon_03
^regardless, the letter T is still a part of LGBT, and the rights of our community should be present in all things. What kind of history is valid? Are we going to snub our noses at some and welcome others instead? That doesn't seem to be the community I want to be a part of. And yes, pageants are based (as with many other things) in a hetero norm culture, yet it is the individual's choice to partake in them- she doesn't need any approval to take part if that is what she wants. It is an added bonus and strength to do so while wearing the still negative/disapproval that the norm has of trans people. We need more public figures who are LGBT not more closeted ones.
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TK
Get real Jamie Lee. She fought for acceptance into a very public and popular competition run by conservative narrow-minded people, and won the right to compete as the woman that she is. As a result, she focused media attention to the trans community and now serves as a role model for pursuing your goals. As far as I'm concerned that makes her very worthy of being recognized. It's such a shame that you focus on finding fault in everything the Vancouver Pride Society does.
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Justin Smith
Had Ms. Talackova proudly identified herself as transgender in her Miss Universe application, I might buy Shannon's argument. However, it was only after someone had contacted the Miss Universe organization and outed her did the media suddenly focus attention on her. But even if she had identified herself as such, a beauty contestant is hardly a worthwhile role model. Mickey Mouse would be more suitable.
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JamieLee
@ TK perhaps you need to get real. Miss Talackova had every right to participate in that beauty pagent as female but my question is other than that does she have any history or accomplishments within the LGBT liberation movement to warrant such an honour? Hate to tell you but the heavy lifting regarding advancing human rights in the Transsexual/Transgender community came long before Ms Talackova arrived on earth. My point is this. Just because someone is transsexual or transgender does that automatically make them part of the LGBT community? Perhaps we should have that debate because as far as I know Ms Talackova did not state she was transsexual on her application form. As yet I have not seen how Ms Talackova is pursuing the transgender community's goals. Until I see that she is more than just media interviews and potential reality shows I would say she hasn't yet proven herself to be a role model. And is looking physically beautiful the only criteria to bestowing role model status on someone?
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JamieLee
@Shannon I think you miss the point entirely. You say just because someone is transsexual or transgender that this T makes them automatically part of the LGBT community. What planet are you living on? There are many transsexual people who do not want to be part of the broader LGBT community and who don't even identify as T. Plus they are quite content to lead a heterosexual existance and that is their right to do so. Again you seem to be saying that anyone based on their T identity is automatically part of the LGBT community and by doing this it seems that you are forcing some people to be out when perhaps they may not choose to be. I want to say that in the queer liberation movement history is everything. Without it we would not be where we are today and of course we should always be inclusive and welcoming but again my point is this. What has Ms Talackova done for queer history to warrant such an honour of being selected as a Grand Marshal in the Pride movement? And by asking these difficult questions I dare anyone to challenge me that I'm somehow not being inclusive or accepting Ms Talackova as part of the community that I have lived in and served with pride for the last 40 years.
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