Miss Missouri Will Compete as Miss America’s First Openly Gay Contestant

Erin O’Flaherty, the new Miss Missouri, will this weekend compete on stage for Miss America as the pageant’s first openly lesbian contestant. “Behind the scenes, we’ve been well-represented, but I’m the first openly gay title-holder, so I’m very excited,” she has said. “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 Kentucky in 2011, Djuan Trent, competed in Miss America and finished in the top 10. She came out as a lesbian in 2014. Two openly lesbian contestants, Jenelle Hutcherson and Mollie Thomas, competed in the Miss California USA pageant in 2012, but they did not advance to the national pageant level. “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,” said Josh Randle, chief operating officer of the Miss America Organization. “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.”