Missouri has its first openly gay Miss Missouri

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri has its first openly gay Miss Missouri.

Erin O’Flaherty was crowned Miss Missouri on Saturday in Mexico, Missouri.

Ann Jolly, chairman of the board of the Miss Missouri Scholarship Organization, said Wednesday that the 23-year-old O’Flaherty is the first openly gay woman to be named Miss Missouri.

O’Flaherty said in a telephone interview that she came out as gay when she was 18. She knew going into the Miss Missouri pageant if she won she’d be making history, but she says that wasn’t her focus.

She says she believes she’ll also be the first openly gay woman to compete in the Miss America scholarship pagant, scheduled for September in Atlantic City. A spokeswoman for the Miss America pageant didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

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