Miss Missouri Erin O’Flaherty will become the first out lesbian to compete for the national Miss America crown on Sunday night. O’Flaherty came out in college at the same time she started participating in pageants to build a social circle.
There have been other openly gay Miss America pageant contestants but none have made it to the national contest. In June, O’Flahetry became the first openly lesbian contestant to win a state title and has had nothing but positive things to say about her experience.
“The Miss America organization has done a great job of wrapping their arms around me,” O’Flaherty told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield. “Everyone who I’ve come into contact with has been nothing but supportive.”
But not everyone in the LGBTQ community is thrilled about the prospect of the first openly gay Miss America. Reporter Renee Gross went to two Los Angeles gay bars, the Gold Coast Bar and Akbar, to hear people’s thoughts. Listen to what they had to say:
Daniel Nedina, Cy-Bejay, Julie Davis, James Benge, Jenevieve Ting, and Kevan Pensis shared their thoughts.
The Miss America event is being held live at Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Sunday, Sept. 11. But if you can’t make it to New Jersey, you can watch the event at 9 pm EST on ABC or stream it.
Reach reporter Renee Gross here.