Openly Lesbian Miss California USA contestants make history
 

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posted Friday, January 13, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 02

Openly Lesbian Miss California USA contestants make history
by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Jenelle Hutcherson, 26, of Long Beach, and Mollie Thomas, 19, of West Hollywood, may not have taken home the crown in the Miss California USA competition over the weekend. But what they did take with them - what is perhaps the best consolation prize one could hope for - is a page in history as the first openly Lesbian contestants in the 60 years of the state pageant.

According to event organizers, more than 400 women vied for the title of Miss California USA and Miss California Teen USA, compared with 378 participants from last year. The winner, Natalie Pack, 22, was awarded the crown January 8, in Palm Desert. She will go on to compete in Miss USA, the national pageant.

Thomas, a part-time UCLA student, had never entered a pageant before. She agreed to compete because, according to Keith Lewis, co-executive of the contest, the state pageant encouraged 'individuality' and urged contestants to 'push the envelope even further.' Thomas saw a chance to represent the LGBT community in a positive way, she said.

'I'm running for equality and will use this in order to promote visibility on current issues, to become a youth advocate and a role model,' Thomas said in an interview before the competition.



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