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The Miss America Organization

There she is: Out of the closet, and ready for Miss America

There she is: Out of the closet, and ready for Miss America

After competing in pageants for generations in the closet or working behind the scenes, gays and lesbians finally get to see one of their own take one of pageantry's biggest stages.

Miss Missouri, Erin O' Flaherty, will compete for the Miss America crown this weekend as the first openly lesbian contestant.

"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 Associated Press in a recent interview. "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."

Rich Helfant, executive director of the Greater...

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