Erin O’Flaherty, the newly crowned Miss Missouri, is making history! The lady loving beauty queen will compete in the Miss America pageant in September making her the first openly LGBT woman to do so.

Erin O'Flaherty“I’m on cloud nine really just to be Miss Missouri. I don’t know that I intended to be the first, but I am. So I’m very excited about it,” the 23-year-old said.

O’Flaherty, who has been out since 18, based her pageant platform on raising awareness for suicide prevention.

“My focus of my year isn’t going to be that I’m gay. It’s certainly a big part of who I am, and I will be promoting it and raising awareness for the LGBT community. But also there will be many appearances that I do that have nothing to do with that. I’m hoping that I can strike a really nice balance of staying true to the values of Miss Missouri and also being able to exercise my personal views.”

O’Flaherty isn’t the first LGBT person to try and win a crown. In 2012 Mollie Thomas competed for the Miss California crown and the following year Analouisa Valencia competed in South Carolina. Internationally, 2008 and 2013 Miss Spain winner Patricia Yurena Rodríguez came out to her fans on Instagram by posting a photo with girlfriend DJ Vanesa Cortes.

Of course pageants themselves are a dated, sexist, and all-around awful practice, but we’re happy to see gay folks competing in an arena that has been dominated by the straights.

Image credit: Facebook