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What Are the Identity Rules For Entering Beauty Pageants?

Updated on August 23, 2015
Eighteen-year-old Ruth Malcomson, Miss Philadelphia of 1924. Later that year in Atlantic City, she would be crowned Miss America.
Eighteen-year-old Ruth Malcomson, Miss Philadelphia of 1924. Later that year in Atlantic City, she would be crowned Miss America. | Source

Medical Procedures That Might Be Questioned

Do you think transgender men should be permitted to participate in women's beauty pageants? asked by TIMETRAVELER2

I am writing in this category, because I am opposed to a particular medical practice in my state that may be commonplace in other US States as well. I find it to be too easy a solution that causes too much distress in the lives of children and the confused adults that they often become. Stay with me as I recall a few sentences of background.

Here, when an infant is born with reproductive organs of both male and female, the male organs are automatically the first choice of surgeons to remove. This is reportedly because removing the male elements is easier than removing the female, and the surgery does not require the creation of an artificial male exterior organ.

The DNA definitions of male and female have not been considered in these cases, but that practice was recently instituted during the Summer 2012 London Olympics.

It seems that many of these infants grow up to become children that feel different from other girls in their neighborhoods and schools. As adults, they sometimes learn that they were surgically altered as infants - or they do not learn it - and choose gender reassignment surgery to become men. They likely would not be interested in entering beauty pageants.

Choosing Female

I have heard of instances in which parents of a dual-gender infant insist that the child be allowed to make his/her own decision as to gender choice later in life. This might be equally confusing all around, but at least the choice allows some semblance of the feeling of self-control for the child. Hopefully they will feel less "butchered", given the choice.

Self selection of female gender in these cases should readily allow a young woman that results after surgery to be enrolled in a beauty pageant. In my opinion, since she was born with two sets of organs and chose the female, then this choice is "natural" enough for me. It may not be so for some beauty pageant boards, but I think that this case can be fought and won.

Leveraging "Female"

The punch line to this section is that some 20 years ago in my county, we had a male martial artist making the rounds of tournaments and losing every event he entered. He surgically became female, entered the female events and lost every one of those as well. Rumors were rampant that he became female thinking that it would be easy for a recently former man to win against the women. I don't know; however, if these rumors were true, then this is a most unfortunate case.

My opinion is that if someone undergoes gender reassignment surgery to become another gender, then the final gender is the only gender that the person should be permitted to enroll as, in beauty pageants, weightlifting competitions, the Olympics and other sporting events, an other activities requiring a gender divide.

Considering individuals that dress as the opposite gender and cannot or do not want to undergo surgical transformation for whatever reason, I feel that he or she must choose one gender for competition in the above mentioned events and stick with it consistently. My opinion is "no switching back and forth."

Hungary Plastic Surgery Pageant

Olympics Testing Grounds

Before the 2012 London Summer Olympics, there is to be much DNA testing among the women athletes in order to ensure that they are genetic women. Are so many men wishing to become women and compete in the Olympics?This was unheard-of a few decades ago.

Another situation is the entire Olympics-Paralympics comparison. The Paralympics was designed for athletes that have physical challenges making their participation in the Olympics too difficult and dangerous. However, with the advent of carbon-steel running legs for amputees, a feeling has arisen that not only are these challenged athletes able to compete in the Olympics, but also to beat athletes with all of their natural limbs intact - with unnatural advantage built into the springy metal legs. Will crossover from the Paralympics to the Olympics be permitted?

It seems that technological advancements in medicine and bioengineering are creating more than political and social issue for beauty pageants and the Olympics.

Just a few years ago, one of the Far Eastern countries' beauty pageant boards was considering two types of pageants - one for those that have had plastic surgery and one for those that remained all natural. That might make a good pageant solution.

At the same time, I think it would be unfair for an individual to take up gender switching at will sequentially in order to enter women's pageants, men's sporting events, women's Olympic events, etc. Add the additional variable of natural legs vs. carbon-steel cheetah legs, and I think we have too many options altogether.

Oscar Pistorius and Cheetah Legs

Blade Runners

During the 2012 Summer Olympics, the blade runners with artificial legs were feared as almost "genetically enhanced athletes." DNA did not play a part in this controversy, but Oscar Pistorius was criticized for attempting and then for succeeding in qualifying for the full, able-bodied Olympics.

He did not come close to winning his races there, but he went on to additional victories in the Paralympics. Identity and abilities are controversial still as we approach the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

© 2012 Patty Inglish MS

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