TORONTO, Ontario, May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Toronto Catholic elementary school is under fire after hosting a “transgendered” Miss Universe Canada contestant on Tuesday in the run-up to the annual spectacle this weekend.
The event, owned by Donald Trump, has often been criticized for its hyper-emphasis on women’s sexual values and displays of women in skimpy bikinis.
Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women Canada, says the Catholic school event sent the message to young girls that they need to be “sexy and glamorous.”
“How many girls watching that will now want to be a Miss Universe?” she asked.
This year’s contest has gotten unprecedented media coverage after controversy over the involvement of “Jenna” Talackova, a naturally male contestant who underwent “gender reassignment” surgery at the age of 19.
Talackova, a 23-year-old Vancouver native, was originally barred because of rules requiring that contestants be a “naturally born woman.” But after a media firestorm, Trump stepped in to overrule the decision.
On Tuesday morning, the 62 contestants in Saturday’s pageant visited children at St. John Vianney Catholic Elementary School in Rexdale as one of numerous publicity events.
According to a Canadian Press report on the Catholic school appearance, Talackova “says she’s proud to be opening the door for other pageant hopefuls who may want to follow in her footsteps.”
In a brief interview with LifeSiteNews, principal Vincent Moretti said the school has “no concern” that Miss Universe might conflict with Catholic values. He directed questions to the Toronto Catholic District School Board and hung up.
John Yan, spokesman for the school board, explained that at the Tuesday event, the 62 contestants “gave presentations on a number of values and virtues that are consistent with learning and living in the love of Christ.”
Asked if the board had concerns that giving a platform to the pageant promotes an attitude towards women that offends Catholic values, Yan emphasized that, in his view, the presentations were consistent with the Catholic faith and that the pageant itself did not take place at the school.
Landolt disagreed. She said that giving Talackova an opportunity for a photo op at the school “indicates an acceptance” of “gender reassignment” surgery, which she noted is against Catholic teaching.
Beyond that she questioned the whole notion of promoting beauty contests to girls. “There’s much more to women than what they look like. I think it’s so superficial to set up this criteria of glamour and beauty,” she continued. “Their spiritual, their emotional, their intellectual development – that’s far more important than what you look like.”
Principal Vincent Moretti
St. John Vianney Catholic School
105 Thistle Down Boulevard Toronto, ON
Most Rev. Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto (ON) M4T 1W2
Tel: (416) 934-3400 #609
Fax: (416) 934-3452
Find contact information for all trustees at the Toronto Catholic District School Board.