A Miss Universe Canada finalist, allegedly disqualified for being transgender, has been allowed back into the competition.
The u-turn comes a day before the ousted Jenna Talackova was expected to hold a news conference with high-profile feminist lawyer Gloria Allred to talk about her experience.
In a statement last night, the Miss Universe Organization said the 23-year-old could now compete, 'provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada and the standards established by other international competitions.'
Gay rights group GLAAD welcomed Talackova's return to the contest and said it is working with the Miss Universe Canada organizers to review and update current policies to include transgender women.
GLAAD spokesman Herndon Graddick said the organizers had taken 'an important first step'
'Now, GLAAD urges the organization to include all women and use this incident to speak out in support of the transgender community,' he said.
'So many women today do not have equal opportunities for employment, housing and safety simply because they are transgender.
'The Miss Universe Organization should look to state non-discrimination laws and institutions including the Olympics, NCAA and The CW’s America’s Next Top Model, which do not discriminate against transgender women.'
Director of the competition, Denis Davila, previously claimed that the decision to boot out Talackova had nothing to do with discrimination and it was because she broke the rules.
According to the organizer, the 6-foot-1 blonde claimed on her registration form that she was born a female, but later admitted she was actually born a male, thus violating the rules that each contestant must be a ‘naturally born female’.
In a video interview for the 2010 Miss International Queen transgender competition, Talackova said she has known since age four that she was a female, saying she began hormone therapy at 14 and went through the surgery at 19.
Outraged viewers of the contest flooded social networking sites with criticism of the organizers and petitioned beauty pageant owner Donald Trump to reinstate her, garnering more than 41,000 signatures.