Rachel Slawson becomes the first queer contestant of Miss USA

27 Jan 2020 | Angelique Reyes

Miss Utah USA 2020 hosted its coronation on 18th January 2020 at George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City where Rachel Slawson of Park City was crowned as the new queen as she becomes the official representative of Utah for the title of Miss USA 2020.

When Rachel Slawson was crowned Miss Utah USA 2020, it not only became a major achievement for the beauty queen as it was the 5th time she was competing at Miss Utah USA. But along with her achievement Rachel is making a history as she is the first open bi-sexual contestant in Miss USA since its inception in 1952.



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"I knew this would be a monumental first for the state of Utah, but it wasn't until the day before the pageant I learned that never has a queer woman walked the stage at Miss USA. This is a historic moment for the entire LGBTQ+ community and I am honored to participate”, the diva mentioned to a newspaper.

Rachel opened up about her sexuality on her social media where she mentioned, “Being Queer is not a ‘platform’ The reason I waited so long to come out as a member of the LGBT+ community was that I didn’t think who I choose to love should define who I am. I hope by sharing this with you, you can believe that it’s okay to accept every way you love in this world. Your love is a gift here, and so are you.”

Rachel Slawson’s journey towards the crown hasn’t been easy because along with identifying herself as an LGBTQ+, she is an advocate for Mental Health too. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after she tried to commit suicide after losing Miss Utah USA when she was 19-years-old. She, now, works as a suicide prevention advocate for the Crisis Text Line and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The diva usually shares her personal experience with people online so that they can ask for help if they need.



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Utah ranks fifth in the nation for its suicide rates according to the state health department. LGBTQ+ youth are particularly vulnerable to depression and more likely to attempt suicide. She wants to use the platform of Miss USA to raise awareness about Mental Health issues, suicide prevention and acceptance of LGBTQ+ community by touring to local schools and businesses to discuss. She'll continue to be transparent about bipolar disorder and her sexuality, to shift the stereotypes of what a pageant competitor should look and sound like, she explained.

“Pageantry comes with an allure of perfection, and I don't think that's changed. I just think that the definitions of beauty and perfection are expanding." Rachel mentioned.



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The diva who is all ready to represent Utah at Miss USA 2020 explains that she is proud of her rocky journey and this process has helped her to accept herself and she makes it clear that she doesn’t want to be labeled as just the bi-sexual contestant.

Last year, Swe Zin Htet made history as the first openly lesbian woman to compete for the Miss Universe title, despite homosexuality being illegal in her home country of Myanmar. In 2016, Erin O'Flaherty became the first openly lesbian contestant to compete in the Miss America pageant.