Miss New York Has Gay Rights Platform for Miss America Pageant

She’s like the anti-Carrie Prejean. I’ve never liked beauty pageants and am certain I never will, but I’m rooting for Miss New York to win the title for Miss America next year.

Claire Buffie won the competition for Miss New York this summer, with her platform being gay rights. Below is a recent interview where she discusses what she’s looking to achieve.

I particularly appreciate her drive to focus attention on bullying, cyberbullying and suicide among LGBT youth. She said to the Advocate in an interview, “People may think of marriage equality, but actually, gay rights is a platform for so many more issues.”

Again, let’s not forget beauty pageants have their own evils, like perpetuating harmful social beauty standards that target girls (and standards that contribute to the other most common target of bullying, physical appearance). I’d also like to know if her platform includes trans rights. But with that being said, considering the influence that this competition and its winner has on the public, and considering the fact that this is the first Miss America contestant to use this platform makes me feel like if someone is going to win this thing, it should probably be her.


Transcript after the jump.

It is a first in the world of beauty queens this summer — newly crowned Miss New York Claire Buffie has taken on a platform that stirs controversy from Washington to California and every state in between: equal rights for same-sex couples. Miss Buffie won the New York pageant with a platform that calls for political and social change and she joins us in the studio now to talk about this. Claire, great to have you with us.

Thank you so much for having me today.

Well let’s skip right into this: why did you decide to pick such a sensitive topic, some people would consider it to be taboo — why did you want to make it your platform?

Well first and foremost, my sister Sarah is a lesbian, so I think it’s my duty as a straight ally to stand up for her rights as a homosexual that should be equal as my rights as a heterosexual.

Do you think this is going to hurt your chances though of racing for the crown of Miss America?

No, I think I have just as much of an equal opportunity as anyone else, the Miss America organization is looking for a woman who is intelligent and compassionate and who is working every day in her community to affect positive and lasting change and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

So how are you doing that this year — the Miss America pageant won’t be until January —

January 15th, in Las Vegas.

So between now and then, how are you promoting your platform?

Well, I’m an executive board member of PFLAG New York City, which is Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and through PFLAG I have been a speaker in their safe schools program, speaking at middle and high schools around specifically New York City public schools, but with the Miss New York title, I am able to go throughout the state of New York and broaden that topic to the rest of New York State.

In reading your essay, I was shocking to read that 30% of youth suicide can be attributed to sexual identity issues. When you hear that number, are you just startled by that, is that part of the reason why you do this as well?

I am, and that’s the thing, is that gay rights, this term of gay rights is an umbrella term for so many different issues and so many people only equate it with marriage, but we — this is an issue that affects youth and teens and people who are sitting and staring at their laptop and looking at their Facebook and the bullying, the cyberbullying that’s gone on to a point where they want to take their own lives. And that’s something that we can’t avoid talking about this subject anymore, we need to bring it to the forefront of conversations in American families.

And we can’t avoid talking about this without talking about another competition with Miss USA and Carrie Prejean from California — her title was taken away but it was a completely different story. When you saw her story, did that make you pause for concern about your own platform.

It did but here’s the thing: everyone is entitled to their own opinion and this is my opinion and I think it’s one that needs to be heard, so what I’m so happy about is that through the Miss America organization, I have an opportunity to speak about equality and respect, something that we all deserve as Americans, and I am, through the Miss American organization, am able to have a loud, loud voice on that topic.

Well Claire Buffie, Miss New York, the best of luck, again coming up January…

January 15th live on ABC from the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

Go Miss New York, we like you around here, thank you very much.

Thank you.

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