Transcript for Miss Missouri 'Excited' to Be First Openly Gay Miss America Contestant
but now we're back with big news from the pageant world. Missouri has crowned the first openly gay contestant in the history of the miss America competition. That groundbreaking woman, Erin o'flaherty, is with us joining us live from St. Louis. First of all, Erin, congratulations to you. Quite an accomplishment. An honor. So how do you feel. Thank you. You're very welcome. What type of impact do you feel this could possibly have, Erin? Well, it's certainly making history and I'm not sure that I set out to do that but I am the first openly gay miss Missouri and contestant to head to miss America so I'm very exsighted for that but mainly I'm excited to represent the lgbt community. We're underrepresented in public, you know, positions of influence so I'm excited to take that on and hope my presence will help with visibility for the community. And you will are excited about your platform which is suicide prevention and how do you feel your title will help you in that work? Yes, well, suicide prevention is something that I certainly hope to champion throughout this entire year. I promote the American foundation for suicide prevention and I also work very closely with the Trevor project which is the nation's leading crisis intervention and suicide prevention hot line for lgbt youth. Lgbt youth are actually up to eight times as likely to commit suicide as compared to their straight peers if they come from an unacceptable environment. So I'm really excited to partner with them and I hope that it will be a great year of social change. And giving them a voice which is so -- Yes. You have to know that, you know, a young person seeing you and breaking down this barrier that it has to, you know, have some kind of impact and as you said, so many of these young people are going through -- it's tough enough to be young, period. But when you're gay or bi or transgender and you're being bullied and so how will you continue to get that message across that this too shall pass. We've heard this campaign about, you know, just get through this difficult time. How are you going to help them get through it? Right. Well, I'm just going to share my story as much as I can and like I said my focus of this year I hope will not be solely on my sexuality. I'm excited to represent the organ organization, the miss America organization and what I think my message is, I had dream answer goes and I was very scared at first to become who I am but once I stepped into who I was is when I became most successful so my message to all young people out there who have a dream but maybe a little scared is that no matter what obstacles are in your way it does get better. And that I'm here for everyone. Do you have a dream to be miss America. Absolutely. That's always a great thing to have a bigger goal, but if not, I am just so excited to represent miss -- to be miss Missouri and to represent the miss America organization. It's amazing that they have opened up to me and I think it's truly a testament to howdy verse and inclusive the organization is and it's changed my life completely. You represent that crown well. Erin, all the best to you. Watching you in September. Thank you very much. You take care.
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