Petition for transgender women to enter beauty pageant reaches 11,000 signatures

Jossy Yendall reached the finals of the 2016 Miss Galaxy contest but was disqualified after revealing she was transgender

 

The 29-year-old model said she wanted to "highlight discrimination"
The 29-year-old model said she wanted to "highlight discrimination"

A petition requesting a UK beauty pageant to admit transgender women has reached over 11,000 signatures.

Newcastle-based model and aspiring actress Jossy Yendall reached the final stages of the Miss Galaxy beauty contest which takes place between 4 and 7 February 2016. She was disqualified after mentioning to the organizers that she is a transgender woman, despite already having revealed her birth gender in the online application form.

Ms Yendall launched a petition to contest the decision and it has reached over 11,800 signatures at the time of writing on Change.org.

“I know that I am not the only one to have experienced this treatment. Routinely women like me are excluded from mainstream pageants because of the body that we were born in,” she said.

Ms Yendall told The Independent that the goal of the petition was not to complain that she was not selected for the pageant, the goal was rather to "highlight discrimination".

"I want to be sure that the next generation of girls, the girls who enter the competition next year, won't go through what I went through and get a door slammed in their face," she said.

Although high-profile cases of transgender people have shone a spotlight on LGBT rights, such as the cases of Caitlyn Jenner, or Tara Hudson who was moved to a female prison, Ms Yendall said inequality still exists.

Miss Transgender UK 2015

“[…] we still have a long way to go before we live in a world where we are all treated equally, making a change to this industry can be the next step,” she said.

Ms Yendall first wrote about her struggle for The Huffington Post in January and has not heard back from Miss Galaxy.

“Some would say that my recent experience with discrimination is small compared to what other people have to go through, and I agree to some extent. But sometimes it's the smaller incidents of exclusion and misunderstanding that can grow or develop into bigger issues,” she wrote.

The Independent could not reach the organisers Miss Galaxy immediately for comment.

The issue of discrimination at beauty pageants has surfaced around the world.

Winner of a Thailand-based transgender beauty pageant, Trixie Talackova, petitioned Republican presidential candidate and owner of the Miss Universe pageant Donald Trump to allow her to compete in Canada - the organisers later reversed their decision to disqualify her. She went on to reach the top 12 in the competition in 2012.

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