First openly gay contestant to compete for Miss America
This Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 photo shows Miss America contestants at a welcoming ceremony in Atlantic City. The first night of preliminary competition in this year's pageant begins Tuesday night, Sept. 6, 2016, with the new Miss America being crowned on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
"It's overwhelming the amount of love and support I've received not only from the LGBT community, but from so many others as well," O'Flaherty told CNN's Ashleigh Banfield.
"I think what my message really is is that I had dreams, and goals and I was very scared at first to become who I am, but once I stepped in to who I was is when I became most successful," O'Flaherty said on "Good Morning America."
While O'Flaherty is the first openly gay contestant to compete at Miss America, Sky News reported at least one other former contestant came out as a lesbian after competing in the pageant. It was Miss Kentucky 2010 Djuan Trent.
O'Flaherty is one of 52 contestants competing for the coveted Miss America crown this week.
Unlike the Miss USA pageant, all of the Miss America contestants will be required to perform a talent. According to the pageant's website, the majority of this year's contestants will either be dancing or singing.