Miss USA has its first openly bisexual contestant in over 60 years, pageant says 'it's extremely proud'
Rachel Slawson from Park City was crowned Miss Utah USA 2020 and will compete for the national crown in Spring later this year
Rachel Slawson just won the prestigious title of Miss Utah USA. As reported by The Blast, Slawson's win makes her the first openly bisexual contestant to compete for the title of Miss USA. In a massive moment for the organization and Slawson, she will be the first openly bisexual contestant in over 60 years. Earlier this week, Slawson who hails from Park City was crowned Miss Utah USA 2020.
The competition had taken place at the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City. After winning, she will be representing Utah for the title of Miss USA 2020. Sources have shared that the organization is excited to have someone representing the LGBTQ community and someone who has done great work as a mental health advocate.
Slawson revealed that she will be competing for the crown of Miss USA later in Spring this year. Post her win, she took to Instagram to share a heart-wrenching message, talking about her story. She had explained how she had attempted suicide after losing the very same competition she has just won and had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
She had also been hospitalized many times for her mental illness. "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," she had written.
"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," she continued.
She is focused on using her new fame to shed some light on such subjects and help make a difference.
On having a bisexual contender, Miss USA's executive director, Shanna Moakler, told the Blast that she is "extremely proud" to have a titleholder representing the LGBTQ community at the pageant.
Other pageants too have done their bit to promote inclusivity in their ranks. In December last year, the Miss Universe beauty pageant featured an openly gay contestant for the first time - twenty-year-old Swe Zin Htet who competed as Miss Myanmar. Although she failed to make it to the Top 20 contestants, Htet was hailed by many for taking the bold step, especially coming from a country where homesexuality is illegal.
"We are honored to give a platform to strong, inspirational women like Miss Universe Myanmar, who are brave enough to share their unique stories with the world," Miss Universe Organization's Paula Shugart said in a statement. "Miss Universe will always champion women to be proud of who they are."