Warm greetings to a lovely woman! I have been a big fan ever since you placed first runner up in the 1999 Ms. Universe. Yes, even before major major mistakes and tsunami walks came into existence, you already captured the global audience (and me) with your signature statuesque pose. And who could forget how gracefully you picked yourself up when you fell on stage? Indeed, you have become an inspiration to other women. As for me, my admiration went beyond that pageant. I consider you one of the few women in show business who actually have real skill and talent plus a humanitarian heart to boot.
But today, I am writing you about this deep pang of disappointment that stabbed me from the inside when I read your tweets. The first that caught my attention was this:
I immediately called this out and sent you a direct tweet:
after which, you replaced your tweet with this (the version that others picked up and retweeted):
I want to make it clear that I have yet to take a stand on the policy change so I don’t think we will have any problems in that area. I am writing you in hopes that I could help you form a new perspective on transgender issues and concepts by addressing your tweets point by point.
Do not be surprised but just by putting the words “real” and “women” next to each other, you have already made a discriminatory remark. You have already judged transgender women as “fake women” thereby relegating them to second class citizens. My friend Sass wrote a comprehensive explanation on what makes a woman, a woman. She wrote:
“How do you determine who is “naturally born a woman”? By considering who is born with a vagina or not? Or by considering the configuration of the brain when one is born? According to research, the sexual differentiaton of the body into male and female does not end when you were born. The brain itself undergoes sexual differentation as well and this sexual differentation happens independently of the differentiation of the genitalia, and it continues even after you were born (Hence, assigning a baby female or male at birth should be, at best, considered provisional). ALL these processes are natural. If we are going to use this line of thinking with the case of Jenna Talackova. Jenna is a “natural woman” for she was born with a brain that sexually differentiated into a female brain. Unless of course you want to confine femaleness to (being born with a vagina), which of course is not a scientific decision but a social decision based on a genital centric tradition.”
Although I could be wrong, I believe you are the kind of person who would favor the brain as the seat of identity instead of the genitals. Indeed, if a baby is born without genitals, we can always wait for the baby to grow up and decide (using their brain) if their identity is female or male. However, if a baby is born with genitalia but without a brain, this discussion would be irrelevant as there would not even be a living human to speak of. So as long as there is a functioning brain that self-identifies as female, the owner of that brain shall be a woman, a “real woman”, regardless of her genitalia.
Actually, the Miss Universe website states the following rule:
“CAN CONTESTANTS BE MARRIED?
No, contestants may not be married or pregnant. They must not have ever been married, not had a marriage annulled nor given birth to, or parented, a child. The titleholders are also required to remain single throughout their reign.”
Falling in love and marrying a partner, giving birth, becoming a mother, aren’t all these part of the essence of being a woman? Before you even turn your back on Jenna, shouldn’t you be defending the rights of the “real women” out there who are disqualified because they’ve gone through such womanly experiences like giving birth? This is not a rhetorical question. I honestly, genuinely believe you are in a position to push this kind of change. I honestly, genuinely believe that given a choice you would pick the path of inclusiveness (questioning this rule) instead of the path of exclusiveness (disapproving of Jenna’s participation).
By letting Jenna participate after disqualifying her, Donald Trump has sent a very powerful message. And that message is when Jenna won her case, she “stood up for the rest of the women who have fallen whether on or off stage,” through Jenna’s example, she has “shown courage and strength of being a woman,” she is “a good example to the rest of the women in the world!” Oh wait, that was your message. But see, if you claim to be a humanitarian, I would expect that you would see the positive and share in human celebration rather than see the negative and throw a curtain of exclusion.
I don ‘t think your world would fall apart if I decided I didn’t like you anymore but much of how I regard you depends on how you will respond to this situation. With some luck and critical analysis, may you join the ranks of other LGBT allies like Hillary Clinton, Anne Hathaway, and Adam Levine. When that day comes, no Jenna Talackova would have to pick herself up from falling on a transphobic misinformed stage.
Still a fan,
Ron de Vera