Biracial Lesbian Will be First Pageant Contestant in Miss South Carolina
Analouisa Valencia will break South Carolina history as the first lesbian and biracial contestant in the upcoming pageant. Valencia's first ever win within the pageant world was when she was seven-year-old. She was crowned Palmetto Princess at a pageant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and ever since then, she had the goal of being Miss America one day. Valencia, who is 19-years-old now, will have her first chance at trying to get to the Miss America Pageant. In a few months, Valencia will have the opportunity to compete in the Miss South Carolina pageant and if she wins, not only would she have the chance to compete in Miss America, but she will also make history as the first biracial and lesbian winner.
Valencia is of Mexican descent from her father side and African American descent from her mother side. She also came out to her family and friends when she was in ninth grade and brought her girlfriend, Tamyra Bell to her high school prom. Valencia is currently enrolled in classes at the Spartanburg Community College. She plans on earning a business degree from the University of South Carolina. Due to her diversity and South Carolina's conservativeness, her participation in the pageant will be very interesting to watch.
"I just really wanted to be an advocate for equality for everyone this year," Valencia commented. "I want to show the judges who I really am. I want to show them how passionate I am about my platform, how passionate I am for being an advocate for equality.
Valencia's role in the pageant will not only help open opportunities for other people, but it will also help with promoting rights for special needs people. Valencia helps coach Special Olympics gymnasts. Valencia has gotten a lot of praise for her willingness to participate in a pageant within a state that is known to be one of the worse states for gay rights. South Carolina bans same-sex marriage and also does not give employment, housing, or hate-crime protection for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. Although she has not encountered any hatred for her actions, she acknowledges the fact that the possibility of being bullied could happen.
The executive director of the South Carolina Equality Coalition, which is a LGBT rights group, Ryan Wilson stated, "I think it takes a lot of courage for any young person to live openly and authentically. We are extremely proud of Analouisa. She can be a role model for LGBT youth."
Whether or not Valencia wins the pageant, simply participating in the event will change the conversations surrounding the LGBT community in South Carolina, and possibly the United States as well.