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Video: Trump: Transgender beauty contestant can compete

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    >> that donald trump backs down. but following an outcry, he's decided to lift the ban on a transgender woman from entering his miss universe competition. well, nbc's mike taibbi has the latest. mike, good morning.

    >> good morning, ann. well this dust-up over whether a transgender beauty queen can compete for one of the pageant world's top prizes is generating lots of publicity. no problem for donald trump , of course. but for jenna talackova's west coast lawyer. she is 6'1", statuesque and striking and until recently competed in transgender beauty pageants . 23-year-old jenna talackova, a canadian, told a reporter for the pageant that she knew from the time she could think that she was not the male she was at birth.

    >> i always knew since i was about like 4.

    >> really?

    >> and i started my therapy and hormone therapy when i was 14. and then i went through with the surgery when i was 19.

    >> reporter: it was sex reassignment surgery and her passport lists her sex as female. but talackova was disqualified from the upcoming miss universe canada pageant because she was not a natural-born female despite having stated otherwise on her entry form. an online petition drive by her supporters garnered 20,000 signatures and yesterday donald trump 's miss universe organization said she can compete provided she meet the legal gender recognition requirements of canada and the standards of other international competitions.

    >> we need a clear answer. not a wimpy, wish washy type of answer.

    >> reporter: later to tmz trump said it clearly.

    >> we go by the law and based on the laws she's able to compete if she wants to.

    >> reporter: trump has been center stage in other pageant controversies.

    >> she made some very, very bad choices.

    >> reporter: giving a second chance to 2006 miss usa tara conner , after she became embroiled in a cocaine and underage drinking scandal. and that created trump's epic battle with rosie o 'donnell. on "the view."

    >> there he is with the hair going, rosie --

    >> reporter: and trump on " access hollywood ."

    >> rosie's been a loser for a long time.

    >> reporter: and trump harshly criticized 2009 miss usa runner-up. now it's jenna talackova, the first transgender to go for the miss universe crown.

    >> letting people know that she is proud of being transgendered, and certainly, i think, makes her a pioneer.

    >> reporter: as for jenna --

    >> i have never asked for any special consideration. i only want to compete.

    >> reporter: we should note that the misuniverse pageant is a joint venture between donald trump and nbc universal . the canadian miss universe entry will be chosen at a pageant in may. trump says all this publicity has ramped up demand for tickets and his words know, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. big surprise there.

    >> that's right. all right mike

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