Trump’s Controversial 2012 Decision Resurfaces

Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Former President Donald Trump is currently running his third presidential campaign for 2024. On Sunday, Trump, whose supporter base includes many conservatives, stated that “God created two genders, male and female.” However, while this latest statement matches his current campaign stance, in 2012 he had risen to prominence among the LGBTQ community after overturning the rules that the Miss Universe Organization, which he owned, had set.

Trump owned the Miss Universe Organization from 1996 to 2015, with the incident in question occurring in 2012 when the organization moved to disqualify Canadian model Jenna Talackova, then 23, from the competition because she was not a “naturally born” female. Trump had reversed this decision, claiming that the organization needed to respect Canadian laws and thus, allow Talackova to compete for the Miss Universe Canada title.

In a video posted on April 4, 2012, Trump said that they let her compete and they were going to see what would happen. He added that 58 girls were competing for the title of Miss Canada and that if for  “some reason she should win, well, then she has to win the Miss Universe contest.” However, he claimed that everyone wanted to win the Miss Universe title so it was not “going to be easy.”

Michael Cohen, Trump’s then-attorney, had said at the time that so long as the “legal gender recognition requirements of Canada” were met then Talackova was welcome to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant.

Days later and following discussions with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the organization announced that transgender women would be allowed to compete in the competition starting in 2013.