LGBTQ+

Miss USA Has Its First Openly Queer Contestant

25-year-old Rachel Slawson was crowned Miss Utah on Saturday.

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Rachel Slawson is making history as Miss USA’s first openly queer contestant.
 
The 25-year-old was crowned Miss Utah on Saturday and will go on to compete in this
year’s Miss USA—as the first openly bisexual contestant in the competition’s
68-year history.
 
While announcing her victory in an Instagram post, Slawson also spoke candidly about her mental health struggles. 

“The last time I tried to end my life I was 19 years old, and it was the night I lost Miss Utah USA. ‘Why wasn’t I enough?’” she said. “This is my 7th pageant, my 5th time competing at Miss Utah USA, and tonight I finally experienced hands down the biggest dream of my life.”
 
Slawson continued that she finally came to terms with who she was as a queer woman after seeking help with her mental health and being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
 
“And the only difference between tonight, and the night I left broken hearted wishing I wasn’t alive, is that I knew I was enough before I arrived,” she explained.
 
Slawson is making history in the pageant world, following the legacies of Swe Zin Htet, who became the first openly lesbian women to compete in Miss Universe (despite homosexuality being illegal in her home country Myanmar); and Erin O’Flaherty, who became the first openly gay Miss America contestant.  
 
The date for Miss USA 2020 has yet to be announced.

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