After so much speculation, petitions, and discussions, this year Miss Universe will be hosted in Moscow, Russia. Olivia Culpo will crown the new Miss Universe on November 9th at the Crocus City, Hall. This will be the first time Russia will host Miss Universe. The pageant will be televised on NBC and Telemundo.
Thousands of petitions have been signed demanding the pageant be relocated to a country which is more inclusive and friendly. This is due to the fact that the country is very much anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and the increasing harassment, persecution, and violence against LGBT Russians and visitors. Francesco Pascuzzi launched the petition targeting Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart and PR coordinator Jackie Shahinan.
“Many Miss Universe fans, myself included, identify as LGBTQ,” writes Pascuzzi in the petition. “And surely many employees of the organization are, as well. How are any of these people, who might want or will have to attend the event, supposed to travel to Russia under these new laws and feel safe, when they could (and likely will) be beaten, arrested and/or detained on the spot for being who they are? Clearly, there is more at stake here than the organization’s reputation. With this petition, we are asking the Miss Universe Organization to send a strong message in favour of equality and human rights by pulling out from hosting the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.”
Donald Trump, who has not commented on the petition, was under fire last year for excluding a transgender woman from Canada in the competition. After vocal condemnation from LGBT allies and media watchdog group GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), Trump ultimately reversed the decision and allowed Jenna Talackova to compete in the Miss Universe Canada Pageant — making history as the first out trans woman to do so.