TORONTO — The first-ever transgender contestant to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant made it to the penultimate round Saturday before losing a bid for the title.
Jenna Talackova, 23, competed with 61 contestants and was among the final 12 contestants before failing to make the final five in the pageant.
Sahar Biniaz, 26, claimed the crown and advances to the international Miss Universe competition in December.
Ms. Talackova, who was one of four contestants named Miss Congeniality, was born a male and underwent a sex change. The Vancouver native was initially denied entry to Canada’s pageant because of not having been born female. Donald Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization, overruled that decision last month.
The 6-feet-1-inch-tall blonde, who towered over the other contenders while competing in the bikini and formal wear contests, garnered most of the attention Saturday night, soliciting loud cheering and howls with each appearance on stage.
Her involvement in the pageant has drawn international attention since she was denied entry and hired lawyer Gloria Allred to represent her in her battle to be readmitted.
The rules of the contest run by Mr. Trump’s New York City-based organization say entrants must be “naturally born” females. But shortly after Ms. Talackova announced a news conference in Los Angeles with Ms. Allred, the Miss Universe Organization said on its Canada Web site that Ms. Talackova can compete “provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions.”
Ms. Talackova is the child of a Czechoslovakian father and aboriginal Canadian mother. She has said that she knew early on she was in the wrong body.
Her change of gender was hardly a secret before the event because she had competed in the 2010 Tiffany Miss International Queen Competition for transgendered and transsexual women in Pattaya, Thailand. In a video interview for that pageant, she said she had lived her life as a female since age 4, had begun hormone therapy at 14, and had changed sexes at 19.
The controversy surrounding her participation in Miss Universe Canada erupted this spring after a blogger recognized her from the transsexual beauty contest in Thailand and posted about it.