Miss USA Has Its First Openly Queer Contestant
25-year-old Rachel Slawson was crowned Miss Utah on Saturday.
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
While announcing her victory in an Instagram post, Slawson also spoke candidly about her mental health struggles.
View this post on Instagram
Let’s just get straight to the point: 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?” 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. After a few trips to the psych ward, being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (the reason I had such an extreme reaction to losing a pageant) and finally coming to terms with who I am as a queer woman. 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. I am so grateful for this crown. And I promise to do right by Utah and spend this year sharing my truth. But if I’m being honest with you, this crown is a new job, not an answer to the question I spent the last 9 years asking. “Why am I even here?” I am why. If you are in crisis, please text TALK to 741741, and remember you are always worthy of help, and you are worthy of your biggest dream. Your new Miss Utah USA 2020. 💗
“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.