Walkerburn’s Jai Dara Latto is fighting back after her Miss Transgender United title was unceremoniously stripped by the organiser of the pageant she won last year.
Pageant director Rachael Bailey – who was sent stills from a yet-to-be aired BBC3 documentary which apparently showed Jai, 22, wearing boxer shorts and working out at the gym – also dismissed her former champion as a ‘drag queen’ who was ‘not transgender enough’ to be in the competition.
Ms Bailey initially contacted The Southern to insist a photo of Jai handing over a cheque for £200 was taken offline as it bore her company logo, and she didn’t want young people to see Jai as a LGBT role model.
Ms Bailey told us: “On the stills I could see that she was living for the majority of the time as a man, which means she breaks the terms and conditions of entering the 2015 pageant.
“When Jai entered the competition she said she lived as a woman full-time. She does not, she is a drag queen.
“[In the still] she is wearing boxers on a bed with her gay boyfriend.
“Wearing women’s underwear is an important stage for transgenders. It makes us feel more like a woman.”
She added: “As a transexual, I was very self-conscious of the fact that I didn’t have breasts. Jai does not seem to mind at all that she does not have breasts.
“She is just out there trying to make a name for herself.”
The title las been passed on to runner-up Daisy Bell.
There was also a £5,000 cash prize for the winner, as well as a £3,000 modelling contract which has now been awarded to Daisy, who is 23.
Jai said the first she knew about the accusations was when Ms Bailey requested she go back to the production company and have the scenes removed, saying they could be “damaging to the competition, her organisation and to me as an individual”.
Jai added: “I categorically stated that the documentary would not be re-edited. The accusation that I have broken terms and conditions of MTUK 2015 by not being “full-time” seems to me based on Rachael’s subjective opinion from having viewed the documentary and her own idea of what makes a transgender female.
“Apparently, it’s throwing away the boxers pulling on a pair of women’s pants because it ‘makes us feel like we are finally a woman’.
“Everyone transitions in a different way and if changing underwear was important to her then I respect that, but for me its not.
“I also won’t stop doing what she seems to define as stereotypical male activities such as going to the gym.”
Jai says she has cut all ties with the pageant, and stands by her right to dress however she likes.
She blasted: “What makes a woman? Do I have to conform to what Rachael Bailey defines as a woman? Do I have to dress and act in a way that conforms to her female stereotypes ... wearing women’s underwear, wigs, lipstick and getting my nails done?
“In my opinion these things do not make a woman. I will not be reduced to a Caitlyn Jenner stereotype in order to hold a pageant title.
“I will continue to do what is right for me and transition at my own pace, and continue to be honest with others about my gender.
“Being transgender is not some exclusive club. There are many of us in it and we are all different from one another. I know my truth.
“Rachael’s female identity is not my female identity ... I have my truth and my female identity, and all I ask is that people respect mine as I respect theirs.”
Jai is continuing her fight to raise awareness of LGBT issues.
In April, she plans to raise money for charity by walking the 30 miles between Walkerburn and Edinburgh in high heels.