Olivia Culpo became Miss USA 2012 Sunday night during the 61st annual pageant after winning support for her comments about transgender pageant contestants.
The Miss USA pageant was held Sunday night at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Presided over by Donald Trump, the 51 contestant pageant was narrowed down slowly to just five by the time the final question round came about.
One of the most controversial questions asked was given to eventual winner Olivia Culpo, of Rhode Island. Culpo was passed the "special" question submitted by fans via Twitter: "Would it be fair if a transgender woman won the Miss USA title?"
Culpo gave a sympathetic answer to those who might feel opposed to transgender contestants, but explained that as for herself she was open to competing against a transgender contestant.
"I do think it would be fair ..." Culpo remarked.
She admitted that some people "might be apprehensive" because traditionally the competition was open only to those naturally born female. However, she went on to explain, "There are so many people who have a need to change for a happier life. I do accept that because I believe it's a free country."
In 2010, Jenna Talackova criticized Donald Trump after she was barred from competing in the Miss Universe Canada pageant because she was transgender. Trump later reversed his decision and allowed Talackova to compete.
Talackova began hormone therapy at the age of just 14. At 19 she had sexual reassignment surgery.
Some users argued that Talackova should not be permitted to compete because she had received cosmetic surgery. Many in particular believe the competition should celebrate natural beauty and reject anyone who has had any type of cosmetic surgery, including surgery to alter one's appearance or gender.
"It's like steroids in sports, athletes who train naturally can't compete with those who use steroids yet they're both judged on their performance. That's why steroids are illegal in sports, and that's why I think any surgery, especially a sexual one should be illegal in beauty competitions," Rebel wrote on the ABC blog.
"This is disgusting. It's bad enough that women who have surgery to modify their faces, breasts, etc. can compete but someone who wasn't physically born a man? It's cheating. There's no other description for this. The requirements ought to be natural born with no surgery or modifications allowed. Isn't that the point of a pageant, or, are we just going to allow people to "manufacture" the perfect woman?" Franklin Basil added.