Miss Universe Transsexual Beauty Up Close And Personal
Jenna with Barbara Walters. Photo: ABC
Jenna Talackova is the beautiful contestant who was originally disqualified from Donald Trump's Miss Universe Canada pageant because she's a transsexual.
This is Trump's second birther campaign. The first was that time-waster regarding Obama's birth certificate. Then came this one about whether a beauty contestant was born male or female. He flat-out lost the first campaign, but this time Trump did the right thing and admitted defeat. Jenna's back in the running, so the message is good: Transsexuals are women.
To add to the complicated layers here, I was invited to a meet and greet with Jenna in a New York restaurant on Saturday, and was delighted.
But an hour before the event, I got a call from her rep saying, "This is a meet and greet with LGBTQ leaders. This is not for publicity."
In other words, I couldn't write about meeting Jenna. That sounded sincere and modest, I guess (though I'm not used to being told I can't cover something I'm invited to).
"OK," I said, warily.
"And by the way," the rep added, "there will be cameras there, filming the whole thing for a documentary."
Huh? This was baffling. A no-publicity party that will be filmed for a movie?
At the event, the woman told me, "Sorry. We're approaching this from a human-rights perspective, not entertainment and publicity."
I was stung. "I've written about human rights for 30 years," I said. "I even wrote something heartfelt about Jenna."
In fact, I came to her defense when a lot of people weren't doing so, some of them screeching, "She's a dude, man."
I didn't also tell her I'm an open gay who has put my life on the line, I marched with Act Up, have fought for transsexuals since the '80s, was named to the Out100, got knighted by the Imperial Court, and so on and so on.
Anyway, Jenna and her lawyer Gloria Allred were running late, so I had to leave and go back to my deadlines.
And I never got to meet Jenna up close and personal -- but I'm thrilled that she's trailblazing for transsexual rights.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.