After competing in pageants for generations in the closet or working behind the scenes, gays and lesbians finally get to see one of their own take one of pageantry’s biggest stages.
Miss Missouri, Erin O’ Flaherty, will compete for the Miss America crown on Sept. 11 as the first openly lesbian contestant.
Lesbians have been more visible in pageants lately. Djuan Trent competed in the Miss America pageant as Miss Kentucky in 2011, when she finished in the top 10. She came out as a lesbian in 2014.
Patricia Yurena, two-time winner of the Miss Spain contest and a runner up in the 2013 Miss Universe competition, announced in 2014 that she is a lesbian, posting a photo of her and her girlfriend cuddling, titling it “Romeo and Juliet.”