It took two very brave women to make history
in California this year: in the sixty years that the Miss USA pageant has been running, Jenelle Hutcherson (26) and Mollie Thomas (19) were the first openly gay contestants to compete.
Hutcherson, from Long Beach and Thomas, from West Hollywood, both stated that their platform was that of acceptance. Whilst the Miss USA pageant has very conservative roots, organisers insist that the pageant is all about women being role models and promoting individuality – and who wouldn’t admire these women?
Whilst there have been other lesbian contestants in the pageant world, many of them blend in and don’t make it a known thing. This is a world of long hair and high heels, in a general sense. However, the contestants aren’t judged solely on their super-model looks; this pageant is about charisma, self-confidence, poise and knowing oneself. When Hutcherson wore a tux for the Evening Gown phase, there was no questioning her self-confidence and poise; truly, it’s something to admire.
Carrie Prejean could stand to learn a thing or two from these women.
While the media made rather a large fuss about Hutcherson sporting a mohawk, piercings and tattoos, I don’t think that has much to do with her sexuality. Hopefully, this will encourage other ‘alt’ girls to participate in pageants and not feel that they wouldn’t fit in – you don’t need to be gay to wear a ‘hawk, after all! Her girlfriend, a journalist, wrote a wonderful piece on the entire event. The amount of community support that the Long Beach contestant received is heart warming to see.
For Thomas, this was her first pageant. A part-time student at UCLA, she decided to run to promote awareness for the LGBT community and hopes to become a youth advocate and role model. Having volunteered for a school for handicapped children in Mongolia as well as helping to rebuild homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, I’d say that she was already a role model before setting a foot on stage.
Whilst Thomas and Hutcherson won’t be wearing a crown this year, we can only wish these exemplary ladies the very best of luck in their future endeavours.