Miss South Carolina Pageant Will Feature Two Firsts
Analouisa Valencia is a beautiful 19-year-old young woman. Her father is from Mexico, and her mother is African-American. And she is a lesbian.
In a few months she will take the stage and vie for Miss South Carolina, and a chance to go to the Miss America Pageant.
The South Carolina beauty will be heavily scrutinized in her state’s contest. When she declared she was a lesbian in the 9th grade, she added additional concerns in the “red” state.
She has been extraordinarily courageous, even escorting her girlfriend, Tamyra Bell, to her high school prom.
“I want to show the judges who I really am,” she says. “I want to show them how passionate I am about my platform, how passionate I am for being an advocate for equality.”
South Carolina ranks low nationally on LGBT rights. It bans same-sex marriage, does not afford employment, housing or hate-crime protections for LGBT people and has unconstitutional sodomy laws still on the books.
Her advocacy is directed towards those with special needs. She has worked with the “Special Olympics” since she was 8 years old. The current Spartanburg Community College student and gymnastics coach plans to major in business at the University of South Carolina, and aspires to open up her own gym and train elite gymnasts. She currently coaches at her old gymnastics center.
“I’ve experienced a lot of things in life. A lot of negativity. I’ve seen a lot of people get bullied, so I try to be on the up side of things,” she explained. “Special Olympics South Carolina is my platform and I’ve been working with them since I was 8-years-old. And I’ve seen so much discrimination towards people with special needs, and I’m Hispanic and African-American and I’ve seen a lot of discrimination there, as well as with other minorities. So, I try to be an advocate for equality for everyone and be that positive role model. If I can’t be that role model and be positive and comfortable in what I have to say then I shouldn’t have it as my platform.”
If I were a judge at the “Miss South Carolina” Pageant, I would be proud to have a young woman with this much strength of character representing my state.
Columnist-The Guardian Express
2012 Miss South Carolina Pageant Opening Number