Analouisa Valencia, an openly gay African-American/Latina beauty queen, is competing for the Miss South Carolina crown, an official preliminary to Miss America.

Valencia, 19, is currently Miss Lyman, South Carolina.

In speaking with gay glossy The Advocate, Valencia said she came out in the ninth grade.

“My teachers were okay with it,” she said. “My mom at first said, 'Well, I don't support it, but I love you so I'll support you.' She's okay with it now, but it's been a couple of years. My dad at first was very, very, very furious. I think it took a good three weeks to finally accept the fact that I was just going to be who I was and be proud of it. Teachers were very supportive.”

When asked about her girlfriend Tamyra, Valencia said: “She just turned 20 last month, so I threw her a great birthday party. She's really sweet, she's very supportive. We used to not be [in] as good [a] place, but we are now. It took a lot to get there, so we're doing a lot better. We've been together for almost three years; we met when I was in high school in my senior year and went to prom together.”

The Miss South Carolina contest takes place in July.