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Erin O'Flaherty, 23, was crowed the Miss Missouri on Saturday night, becoming the first openly gay woman to win a state pageant leading to Miss America. O'Flaherty says she struggled with her sexuality growing up as a self-described "feminine girl" in Florence, South Carolina, and entered the pageant scene as a college student while still, publicly, in the closet. Now, O'Flaherty wants to use her year as Miss Missouri to break boundaries, serve as a role model not to mention prove that an out and proud lesbian pageant queen is as worthy of her tiara as anyone else , and advocate for suicide prevention, including a focus on the Trevor Project , an organization which is dedicated to preventing suicide among LGBT youth. Why did you want to enter the Miss Missouri — how did you get into pageants? It was during my freshman year at University of Central Florida.
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Get in on this viral marvel and start spreading that buzz! The Miss America pageant has finally opened its arms to its first openly lesbian contestant. She has chosen to work closely with The Trevor Project , which reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death in people ages 10 to Even more sadly, queer youth are a whopping four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. Nearly half of trans youth have seriously thought about taking their own life, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt. Each episode of homo- or transphobic abuse, be it physical or emotional bullying, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2. But once I stepped into who I was is when I became most successful.
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By Kirsten Fleming. June 24, am Updated June 24, am. On one of their first dates, Dr. Deidre Downs — who is the first openly gay Miss America and a fertility specialist — made a bold proclamation to her now-wife, Abbott Jones. Downs, Miss America , followed through with her promise.
But the secret wish of one is to own a pet monkey, another's career goal is to work with penguins at a zoo exhibit, and a third wants to sit next to Anna Wintour at New York Fashion Week. Then there is the contestant who can rattle off the names of all the U. Each contestant has an impressive background of accomplishment and ambition.