Transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova says in a new interview that even at four years old, she knew she was "in the wrong body."
Accompanied by her mother and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, the beauty revealed to Barbara Walters that at birth, she was actually named "Walter."
Talackova, 23, who was called "tranny" and "it" by bullies at school, started hormone therapy at 14. Later, she underwent gender reassignment surgery.
That converted her male genitalia to female and made her the woman she is now.
"It was terribly painful," Talackova told Walters of the procedure, "but seeing something on your body for that long and not even being able to look at myself in the mirror because I couldn't stand seeing the other part, it was very rewarding, too."
To complete her physical transformation, Jenna Talackova said, she also received breast implants and had her Adam’s apple removed in the following years.Her legal transformation became complete as she changed her Canadian driver's license, passport and birth certificate to reflect her gender reassignment.
She is now recognized as female by the Canadian government, and lives a full life as a heterosexual woman. She says she has a boyfriend, a man she says is near her age.
He is "very supportive … just an amazing man."
And she's taken the beauty pageant controversy and turned it into an opportunity to help pave the way for other transgendered men and women.
"I feel like the universe, the creator just put me in this position as an advocate," she told Walters. "And now it's like this, and I'll take that position. If it's helping anybody else, by sharing my story and with my actions, then I feel great about it."
The Miss Universe Canada pageant takes place May 19. Do you think she should be disqualified because of her transgender status?