“Straight for Equality: Let’s Talk”

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January 17, 2011
By: Echo Brooks/ TRT online columnist

Miss New York Makes Pageant History

Miss New York, Claire Buffie, may not have taken home the Miss America crown, but she undoubtedly won the vote of the gay and lesbian community.  With gay rights as her social platform, Miss Buffie knowingly took a risk to support something she was truly passionate about.

Stepping outside of the safety zone, her actions did not go unnoticed.  Not chosen by the judges in the first round of contestants to move on as a semi-finalist, America came through.  Miss New York received the highest number of votes by Americans to secure a place in the initial semi finalist line up.  She may not have been the judge’s choice, but she was the choice of the people.

I have not watched the Miss America pageant in decades.  However, I was glued to the set in support of the girl that threw caution to the wind to stand up for what she really believed in.  Having a lesbian sister and gay friends has enabled Miss Buffie to see firsthand that gay rights are the civil battle of her generation.  I rooted for her each step of the way.
I wanted her to have the voice she was hoping for.  And although she never even made it to the talent portion of the contest, she did not go unnoticed.

With America voting her as their choice, it leads me to believe there is hope out there.  That we are evolving in the right direction.  That the young people of the world are seeing the true injustices the gay and lesbian communities have faced all along.  The tolerance this generation has for their peers is something most of us cannot even fathom.  It is getting better.  It will continue to get better. Claire Buffie is proof that supporting gay rights doesn’t come at a negative cost.  For her it was quite the opposite.

As people, we like to root for the underdog; unless that underdog is gay.  For the first time in Miss America’s 90 year history, someone went to bat for our underdogs.  And while Miss New York did not gain the title of Miss America, she gained the respect and admiration of the country.  This will not be the last you hear of Claire Buffie.

Echo resides in northern New Jersey with her wife and the two youngest of their five children. You can visit her blog at dysphoricallyspeaking.blogspot.comor send comments and questions to dysphoricallyspeaking@gmail.com