Miss America 2017, which will determine the winner of one of the most popular pageantries in the United States, will be aired by Fox on Sunday, Sept. 11. Despite being known for traditional and heterosexual standards of beauty, the organisation has been slowly but surely making moves to blend in with the increasingly tolerant society in the country. One of the biggest moments in that measure is the presence of the first openly gay contestant, Miss Missouri Erin O'Flaherty.
Despite becoming a huge figure in the LGBT community with her presence in the competition, O'Flaherty would love to be seen as a contestant who performed well in all the challenges and just for her sexuality. However, she does take her role in the LGBT community quite seriously, wishing to work for the suicide prevention among LGBT youth with her celebrity status.
"Mainly I am excited to represent the LGBT community. Were underrepresented in public.. in positions of influence... I hope that my presence will help with the visibility for the community," she says during her appearance in ABC's "Good Morning America."
O'Flaherty's win in the competition would mean quite a bit to the LGBT community, however, for Indians it would be an honour to see the win of Miss Rhode Island Shruti Nagarajan. This Brown University graduate has been quite excitedly showing off her preparations for the competition on social media.
In the end, where it is Miss Missouri iO'Flaherty or Miss Rhode Island Shruti Nagarajan or any other contestant, the best woman will take the crown and the scholarship amount. "All of these women are using this to better their lives, better their careers ... finish school," as Miss America 2017 host Chris Harrison says, adding, "It's hard not to get behind an organisation that just tries to empower women."