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Former Miss Kentucky winner Djuan Trent recently came out as “queer” after her state refused to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. The 27-year-old beauty queen told the world she was a lesbian last month, explaining that she struggled with the decision to publicly come out for years.

“For a while, I struggled with the decision of whether or not it was necessary to ‘come out.’ Over the past few years, we have seen many celebrities and public figures open up and take this step. And as a result of their actions, we have seen a surge of urgency, awareness and change, as well as a greater sense of community, and individuals building up the courage to share their personal journeys and coming out stories.

Coming out is a very personal process; and I have found that once you decide to to come out to the public, it is a never-ending process. I say it is never ending because realistically, you will be forever coming out to almost every new person you meet, especially those who ask about your wife, when you actually have a husband or your boyfriend, when you actually have a girlfriend…it never ends.”

While Trent decided to publicly come out after years of living a “completely closeted life” because of her strict Christian upbringing, she says every LGBT person must make their own choice  when it comes to announcing they are gay.

But back to my point of whether or not coming out is necessary. It depends on what you want. I believe that my sexuality is my own…and this is not kindergarten, so I don’t have to share it with anyone if I don’t want to. But it’s nice when you share, right? You get gold stars for sharing, and I can’t lie… I like gold stars. If you choose to keep it to yourself, you are well within your rights to do so. Ideally, I would love to one day live in a society where coming out is no longer necessary because we don’t make assumptions about one another’s sexuality and homophobia is laid to rest. For now, that is more of an ideal than it is a reality. But if you want see that ideal become a reality and you have the courage to change history…if you want to earn some gold stars, then yes, come on out and make your presence known.

Trent’s decision to come out makes her the first openly queer woman to compete at the Miss America level. The former pageant queen, who prefers to be called “queer” instead of gay, told Yahoo Shine that she’s been overwhelmed by support.

“I feel blessed about it, especially because the best responses are coming from people close to me who are saying that I’m courageous.”

We agree.

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