Miss Missouri Erin O'Flaherty is the
first openly gay Miss America contestant in the pageant's 95-year
O'Flaherty will compete for the Miss
America crown this weekend in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“Behind the scenes, we've been
well-represented, but I'm the first openly gay title holder, so I'm
very excited,” she told the AP. “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."
On social media, O'Flaherty said that
her platform is suicide prevention and that she will perform Mad
Hatter from Wonderland during the contest.
After being crowned Miss Missouri in
June, O'Flaherty told CNN that was overwhelmed by the support she's
“It's overwhelming the amount of love
and support that I've received, not only from the LGBT community but
from so many others as well,” O'Flaherty told Ashleigh Banfield,
host of Legal View. “And really I still just feel like just
Erin. So, not much has changed other than now I get to be someone
that's in a public position of influence for my community, and I'm
really excited about that.”