A Message for Miss Pennsylvania

It's not the transgender contestants you should be worried about

Dear Sheena Monin,

I think we can agree that Donald Trump hasn’t exactly been supportive of gay rights over the years. He’s said more than once that he opposes same-sex marriage. And he’s faced criticism over the way he implements policies in his business ventures time and time again. And his reactions to powerful women who criticize him? Not nice. At all. Two words: Rosie O’Donnell.

Despite the laundry list of reasons we can think of to loathe this guy, that he would allow transgender contestants to compete in the Miss Universe pageant is a big step, one that’s been a long time coming. We don’t always get behind the Donald, but this time, we applaud him for making the right decision and to allow someone who is a woman to compete in a pageant for women.

But that you, Miss Monin, might throw in your crown because the contest allows women who may not have been biologically born that way – but who are every bit of woman – is a disappointment to LGBT people everywhere, especially in our own state that you represent.

Admittedly, we don’t spend a lot of time worrying about which beauty queen wins or loses (one could argue the whole experience adds up to more of a draw), but we do pay attention when someone representing our home turf may think that a transgender woman like Jenna Talackova should not be afforded the same opportunities as you – opportunities, we admit, that include strutting around in a bathing suit. Who are we to judge you for wanting to be in a beauty pageant? Sure, we’d like to see more young women paying attention to what’s inside their heads than what sits atop them, but if you manage to find a platform – however antiquated – at least use it wisely.

Let’s be clear, there are plenty of important news headlines to worry about this week – like the 14-year-old boy who accuses President Obama of turning his friends gay, the recent court loss over DOMA and even the local discussion we’ve been having about what works and doesn’t at Philly Pride. We can’t reasonably spend a lot of time on who’s on top or not … in a beauty pageant. But we would ask that you reconsider how you treat your fellow contestants and our transgender friends every step on the cat walk.

In this day and age, we also realize that causing a controversial stink (like saying a pageant’s rigged) usually guarantees you 15 minutes of fame. Congratulations on grabbing some, but it’s up to you how you’ll use it.

Our suggestion? Do something decent. Turn down whatever offer you get for the centerfold. Avoid the reality TV pitfalls. And say something nice to and about Jenna Talackova.

Believe us when we say that history doesn’t always treat homophobes and transphobes well in the long run. And even though one’s looks may fade, your legacy is all yours. It’s up to you how you’d like to be remembered – before that 15 minutes is up. Tick tock.


G Philly