Miss America has been going on for 95 years, but even that long tenure isn’t enough to stop it from making history, even today.
For the very first time, Miss America has an openly gay contestant competing for the crown. This is none other than Erin O’Flaherty, who was crowned Miss Missouri back in June of this year.
She will be competing for the honour of Miss America this weekend. Back when she won the crown of Miss Missouri, Erin said: “I don’t know that I intended to be the first but I am, so I’m very excited about it.”
She went on to say that while her sexuality is “certainly a big part of who I am, there will be many appearances that I do that have nothing to do with that.”
When Erin spoke on coming out, she said it was “…very public, which was hard because you want it to be very private. The public access to that was very challenging because I wanted to protect my relationship, and who I am and come to terms with myself before the rest of the world got a chance to.”
More recently, she spoke to the Associated Press, saying: “Behind the scenes, we’ve been well-represented, but I’m the first openly gay title holder, so I’m very excited. I knew going in that I had the opportunity to make history. Now I get to be more visible to the community and meet more people.”
— Miss Missouri (@MissAmericaMO) July 25, 2016
Pretty much all spectrums of the LGBT rainbow have worked on pageants, but from behind the scenes, until this recent surge into the limelight they have not really been recognised.
The COO of Miss America Organisation, Josh Randle, has said that the Miss America pageant reflects a changing America.
“Through every major milestone of our nation’s evolution, Miss America has provided a voice for women from all walks of life, and, this year, we welcome our first openly gay contestant. Miss America contestants continue to be the best and brightest in the country, and we proudly support each and every young woman who competes in our national program.”