LGBT News Briefs: Pageant and Parish

Transgender beauty contestant in Canada and churchgoing gay in Austria fight back

By Joe Corcoran and Will O'Bryan
Published on April 4, 2012, 11:08pm | Comments

Beauty Pageant Hopeful Takes on Miss Universe Over Gender Identity

Jenna Talackova, 23, spoke on Tuesday, alongside celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, about her ordeal of being kicked out of, then readmitted to, the Miss Universe Canada pageant, Canada's Postmedia News service reports.

The treatment of Talackova by Donald Trump's pageant franchise seems to stem from the contestant's gender identity, in that she was born biologically male. Talackova began hormone treatment when she was 14, and underwent gender-transition surgery. Her birth certificate, driver's license and passport all confirm her female identity.

She is, however, being allowed back in the pageant on condition she meets ''legal gender recognition requirements of Canada.''

''I wish Mr. Trump would just say in plain words whether or not I will be allowed to compete, and if I win, whether I'd be allowed to represent Canada in the Miss Universe competition,'' Talackova said, as reported by Postmedia. ''I also want Mr. Trump to clearly sate that this rule be eliminated, because I do not want any other woman to suffer the discrimination I have endured.''

Allred also spoke to the press April 3, saying, ''Trump has caved in a bit already. He has to go the rest of the way and say it loudly, and say it clearly, that not only will Jenna be allowed to compete, but that the rule is gone – no ifs, ands, buts or ors. No conditions and no excuses.''

In Viennese Parish Council Election, Cardinal Overrules Priest to Seat Gay Winner

An Austrian cardinal has overruled a priest's decision to bar a gay man from taking on an elected position in his Vienna parish, according to the Associated Press.

Florian Stangl, 26, was elected March 18 to his parish council having received 96 of 142 votes, but was soon after barred from taking his seat by the Rev. Gerhard Swierzek.

Christopher Schönborn, Austrian cardinal since 1998, originally supported Swierzek's decision, but reconsidered after hosting Stangl and his partner for dinner, Austria's ORF broadcaster reported.

"First, I understand why the community had given him the most votes – because he is really impressive,'' Schönborn told ORF. ''I ask myself in these situations – How did Jesus act? He first saw the human being.''

''I'm glad about the result,'' said Stangl, who lives in a same-sex registered partnership. The cardinal announced his decision to seat Stangl March 30.