updated 03/26/2012 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/26/2012 AT 12:00 PM ET
Should transgender women be allowed to compete in female beauty pageants?
That’s the question at the center of a heated scandal involving one Canadian pageant contestant. Jenna Talackova, 23, was born male but has identified as a female since age 4. She began hormone therapy at 14 and underwent gender reassignment surgery at 19.
On Friday, Talackova, a Vancouver resident, was booted from the Miss Universe Canada competition “because she did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form,” the organization said in a statement. “We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best.”