Before declaring Sunday that “God created two genders, male and female,” former President Donald Trump rose to stardom among the LGBTQ community when he overturned the rules at his own Miss Universe organization to allow a transgender woman to compete in 2012.
Over a decade ago, Trump famously overturned an earlier decision by the Miss Universe organization, which Trump owned from 1996 to 2015, to disqualify Canadian model Jenna Talackova, then 23, because she was not a “naturally born” female.
Trump reversed the decision, saying the organization would respect the laws of Canada and allow Talackova to compete for the Miss Universe Canada title, where the winner would go on to compete in the global telecast.
“We let her in,” Trump said in a video on April 4, 2012. “We’ll see what happens. Maybe she’ll do well, maybe she won’t. You have 58 different girls trying to be Miss Canada. It’ll be very interesting to see what happens. If for some reason she should win, well, then she has to win the Miss Universe contest. Everybody wants to be Miss Universe. I don’t think it’s going to be easy.”
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower, Monday, April 3, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Michael Cohen, Trump’s then-attorney who was convicted in 2018 on charges related to hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, for which the former president is also currently facing charges in New York City, said at the time that the Miss Universe organization was not “capitulating” to any group.
“As long as she meets the standards of legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, which we understand that she does, Jenna Talackova is free to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant,” Cohen said at the time.
Days later, after holding discussions with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Miss Universe organization announced a policy change to allow transgender women to take part in all of its competitions starting in 2013.
Jenna Talackova looks on at a press conference in Los Angeles with her attorney Gloria Allred (not pictured) on April 3, 2012. Canada’s Miss Universe pageant said it would allow the transgender model to compete in its pageant as long as Canada recognizes her gender as a woman. (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
“We appreciate that [Trump] and his team responded swiftly and appropriately,” GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick said at the time.
“We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously,” added Miss Universe organization President Paula Shugart.
“It will be interesting to see how Jenna Talackova does as Miss Universe Canada,” Trump tweeted on April 15, 2012. “We all wish her luck.”
Talackova wound up losing the Miss Canada contest, but the company’s decision paved the way for several transgender contestants after her, including Miss Universe Spain Angela Ponce and Miss Nevada USA Kataluna Enriquez.
Angela Ponce of Spain speaks during an interview with journalists at a media event of 2018 Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok on December 14, 2018. Angela is the first transgender contestant in the Miss Universe pageant after she was crowned Miss Universe Spain for 2018. (Photo credit should read LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)
Trump sold the company in 2015, and in 2022, it was sold to Jakkaphong “Anne” Jakrajutatip, a Thai transgender woman and activist, who bought it from IMG Worldwide LLC for $20 million.
“Welcome to the Miss Universe organization,” Jakrajutatip told a live audience at the 71st Miss Universe competition in New Orleans in January. “From now on it’s going to be run by women, owned by a trans woman for all women around the world to celebrate the power of feminism!”
Fox News Digital asked Trump’s campaign whether the Republican front-runner regretted his 2012 decision but did not immediately receive a response.
Trump routinely bucked the LGBTQ agenda as president and continues to outrage the transgender community on the campaign trail. During an NRA Convention speech last week, he promised to direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “investigate whether transgender hormone treatments and ideology increase the risk of extreme depression, aggression and even violence.”
“Upon my inauguration, I will direct the FDA – and it’s going to happen quickly – to convene an independent outside panel to investigate whether transgender hormone treatments and ideology increase the risk of extreme depression, aggression and even violence,” Trump said.
“I think most of us already know the answer,” he said.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to guests at the 2023 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on April 14, 2023, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
On Sunday, Trump released a video for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition spring kick-off event, promising a number of executive orders to protect children from “left-wing, gender lunacy.”
“I will immediately sign a new executive order to cut federal funding for any school pushing critical race theory, transgender insanity, and other inappropriate racial, sexual or political content on our children,” he said. “As president, I will sign a new executive order instructing every federal agency to cease the promotion of sex and gender transition at any age. I will then ask Congress to send me a bill prohibiting child sexual mutilation in all 50 states, and I will keep men out of women’s sports.”
“We will defeat the cult of gender ideology, and we will reassert the timeless truth that God created two genders, male and female,” he added. “We will defend our culture. We will reassert the Judeo-Christian values of our nation’s founding.”