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First openly lesbian Miss Long Beach contestant joyous after loss

November 14, 2011 | 12:50 pm

Long beachIn the end, there was no crown and no sash for Jenelle Hutcherson, the first openly lesbian contestant in the Miss Long Beach and Miss Southern California cities pageant Sunday.

"But history has been made," Hutcherson wrote on her Facebook fan page. "Doors have been opened and memories made!!"

The 25-year-old hair artist was a finalist in the competition but lost when the Miss Long Beach title was awarded to Kristin Bopp, while Megan O'Connell-Barbre won the Miss Southern California cities title. The prize for each is a $3,000 appearance contract with the Community Action Team, a nonprofit led by pageant director Justin Rudd.

Sporting a Mohawk, tattoos, a pierced nose and small black ear plugs, Hutcherson wrote that she was treated well by other contestants. "Nobody tried to ripped my tux," she joked.

For the swimwear part of the pageant, Hutcherson wore red and white striped boy shorts and a black and white striped tank top. For evening wear, she ditched the gown and heels for a black tuxedo with a royal purple dress shirt.

Hutcherson, who moved to Long Beach from Bakersfield three years ago, said she got the idea to enter the pageant during a conversation with Rudd while cutting his hair.

Rudd, she said, told how she could enter the pageant and said her wild colors, tattoos and her individuality would all be embraced.

"He gave me no reasons not to join," Hutcherson said.

She said she hoped her participation in the pageant would spread a message of equality, diversity and creativity as well as unite Long Beach's large gay community.

Hutcherson plans to participate in Donald Trump’s Miss California USA pageant and has been looking for financial support in the form of sponsorships and donations.

"The journey is not over," she wrote Sunday. "The world is your oyster. It's what you do with what you have that makes you shine."


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Photo: Jenelle Hutcherson, left. Credit: Courtesy of Justin Rudd