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 photo amyb_zpsed6cdb59.jpgAmy Brosnahan, 18, is aspiring to be a model.  In an attempt to further her career, Amy entered herself in the Battle of the Babes beauty contest modeling competition, which is apparently a worldwide search.

She advanced through the early rounds of the competition, but it didn’t feel right.

I felt really weird going into the competition not telling them what I am really about, what I stand for.

—Amy Brosnahan

So she told the organizers that she was assigned male at birth.  The woman she told asked her if she had had surgery yet.
She was really keen for me until she knew I was transgender.
Amy's prize for being up front about herself was being told that the event was “for female models only.”  So Amy called them out for discrimination.
Just because I am transgender, it doesn’t mean I am not female.

—Amy

I'm sort of doing it as a stand, to show other transgenders that they can do anything they want to do, they just have to sometimes fight for it.

Some of them aren't [confident enough to] take action, [but] things like this need to be spoken about more often.

Amy

Her supportive friends also complained on her behalf.  Spokesman for the organizers Andrew Featherstone says that he had never encountered a situation like this before and the organizers didn’t really know how to deal with it.
I don't want to upset anyone or be unfair to anyone either.

—Featherstone

After the exchange, it was noticed that the rules section of the official website was amended to include “contestants must be born female”, which was later removed.

After some thought and with the knowledge that Amy was in the process of filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission,  the organizing team decided Amy could compete.

This has been bugging us all day.  We never like upsetting people and certainly don't like being seen as unfair.  We have been bothered by Amy being upset about this … we've just decided we should allow Amy to compete, seems like the simple answer and hopefully everyone will be happy, especially Amy, who we realise was enthusiastic about this.

This is pretty much the first time we have had to think about this, apart from a short chat in Thailand last year, so please forgive our naivety and confusion.

—Featherstone

Transgender advocate and political candidate Kelly Ellis had attempted to mediate at one point, but her call to the venue (Empire Tavern) was met with “it’s the Battle of the Babes, not ‘the babes and boys’.”

Ellis noted that New Zealand is generally very accepting of transgender people.

But I suppose every now and then the odd dinosaur pokes it head out of the swamp and we need to make sure that they get educated or sent back to where they came from.

—Kelly Ellis

 photo Amy_Brosnahan_zpsc5a8e34d.jpg
The event is a female model search, so when presented with that situation we weren't sure whether she was still eligible.

—Featherstone

The rejection was understandably quite disturbing.
But I’ve got people surrounding me who keep my motivation up high.  I want to make a difference in this world.  I want to make a difference for the transgender community.  There’s a lot people making a difference for lesbian, gay and bi rights, but transgender is very undercover and not spoken about as much.

—Amy Brosnahan

There is video of an interview with Paul Henry on Friday’s news.

Amy is a finalist.  She will compete against eight other contestants in the final next month in Aukland.

It means the world and I'm very happy with myself.  I'm forging something special not just for me but for other people like me.

—Amy Brosnahan

Organizers say Amy earned her place in the finals based on merit.
We didn't refer to the transgender thing at all.  It was all about her performance and on her looks.

—Featherstone

The winner of the contest gets a trip to Paris and a modeling contract.

Originally posted to TransAction on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community and Voices on the Square.

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