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Miss Missouri, Erin O’Flaherty, to be first openly gay Miss America competitor

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When Erin O’Flaherty was crowned 2016’s Miss Missouri, she became the first openly gay woman to win a state pageant that leads to the Miss America competition.

“It’s certainly making history and I’m not sure I set out to do that, but I am the first openly gay Miss Missouri and contestant to head to Miss America so I am excited about that. But, mainly, I’m excited to represent the LGBT community,” O’Flaherty, 23, said on “Good Morning America”.

O’Flaherty’s  platform is suicide prevention and she will be promoting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

She will working closely with The Trevor Project, which is the nation’s leading crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline for LGBT youth.

She hopes her title will help her in that work, “LGBT youth are actually up to eight times as likely to commit suicide as compared to their straight peers if they come from an unaccepting environment,” she said. “So I’m really excited to partner with them and I hope it will be a great year of social change.”

O’Flaherty will compete for the Miss America crown in Atlantic City, New Jersey, this September.