Right On! Miss Missouri Was Just Crowned the First Openly Gay Miss America Contestant

You go, girl

Huge news outta Missouri: Over the weekend, Erin O’Flaherty, the first openly gay Miss America contestant, was officially crowned to represent the state at the national pageant this fall. (Um, kind of a big deal.)

In an interview with the Associated Press, O’Flaherty explained that she first came out when she was 18 years old and was completely open about being gay throughout the competition. She also knew that a win would be super-historic. (If she were to win, she’d be the first gay Miss America to date.)

Now she’s prepping for the Miss America pageant, which takes places September 11 in Jersey City, New Jersey, and will air on ABC. Her platform is suicide prevention, but she’s planning to reach out to the LGBT community, too, during her reign.

Yes, we still find the whole girls-in-swimsuits-on-a-stage thing a hair icky and misogynistic, but it’s nice to see more diversity in the mix.

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Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...