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This Puerto Rican Beauty Is The First Miss Alabama Beauty Pageant Contestant In 20 Years And It’s About Time

What comes to mind when you think of a “beauty queen”? If images of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Southern girls with money to blow come to mind, you wouldn’t be in the minority.

Kailee Grace Montes, the 22-year-old Latina of Puerto Rican descent competing in the Miss Alabama beauty pageant, is trying to change all that.

In 2019, Montes was the first Latina in 20 years to compete in the Miss Alabama competition. Not only that, but Montes was one of only five of the 47 girls competing who identified as a minority.

According to Montes, she was initially attracted to the idea of participating in pageants for the same reason many Latinas pick up a side-hustle: to pay for college. And it worked! Montes racked up enough scholarship money to pay for two years of college after winning Miss Mobile Bay 2019. But the earnings weren’t the only thing that attracted Montes: “I also thought that pageants were a way I could give back to the community,” Montes said. Specifically, Montes was excited to bring a spotlight to the Boys and Girls Club of America, an after-school program for young adults. But being a Latina competing in a majority-white state meant that Montes had her work cut out for her.

The last–and only–Latina that has won the Miss America Pageant was Paraguay-born Sharlene Wells Hawkes in 1985.

The prevalence of Latina participation in beauty pageants in other parts of the world makes it that more shocking that Latinas are so few and far between in US-based pageants. Although Montes was the first Latina contestant in the Alabama pageant in 20 years, beauty pageants are a common part of many young women’s lives in much of Latinidad. Countries like Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil have a rich history of beauty pageants, with over one-third of total Miss Universe winners coming from the region.

As for Montes, she’s admitted that being one of the only minorities in the Miss Alabama pageant was a challenging experience: “I feel like I’m one of the few who understands the plights minorities have to go through,” Montes said during an interview with NBC News during semifinals

Although Montes placed in the Top 12 in the Miss Alabama competition, she’s not giving up yet.

She plans on continuing to enter pageants and has hopes of one-day attending law school. But, in the end, she hopes that her presence in the Miss Alabama pageant has been an example of what Latinas can accomplish, even with the odds stacked against them.

“As Latinas, we can make any change,” Montes said. “We can change the tone and the cultural temperature by stepping up, speaking out and working together”.

Alabama Won’t Air The Gay Wedding On ‘Arthur’ But Couldn’t Resist Legislating Your Uterus

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Alabama Won’t Air The Gay Wedding On ‘Arthur’ But Couldn’t Resist Legislating Your Uterus

"Arthur" / PBS

Children in Alabama won’t be watching the groundbreaking episode of “Arthur,” at least not on any of the states PBS affiliates.

Alabama Public Television has chosen not to air the Season 22 premiere of the hit kids show because it lovingly features a same-sex marriage.

Sorry, Alabama, you’re missing out.

Credit: @CBC / Twitter

PBS affiliates in Alabama didn’t join in with the 8-year-old aardvark and his friends as they celebrated their instructor’s nuptials, refusing to air the episode. The network said they would “violate” their audience’s trust if they were to air it.

The episode, titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” shows Arthur and his pals’ beloved teacher getting married to another man. The kids initially think Mr. Ratburn is marrying a woman, another rat, but she turns out to be Mr. Ratburn’s sister. Instead, he marries an aardvark named Patrick.

So Alabama, this is how you should have reacted.

Credit: @Jessiemackay / Twitter

Because 100% same! It’s 2019, I’m in my 30s, and I’m just finding out that Mr. Ratburn is gay?!

Or maybe like this considering discrimination towards same-sex couples is an actual threat.

Credit: @Lifeisamitch / Twitter

Even though same-sex marriage is legal even in Alabama. Although the state’s former Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore was removed from his post for trying to circumvent marriage equality in 2016.

But apparently, this isn’t the first time Alabama stole “Arthur” from kids.

Credit: @nbcwashington / Twitter

I mean it almost seems like PBS in Alabama just doesn’t want Alabama to know that gay people exist…

I mean even conservative news hosts are coming out and putting Alabama on blast for this ridiculous decision.

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Like real talk: you know things are bad when conservatives pundits come out to support a same-sex marriage between a rat and an aardvark.

Many on Twitter were quick to point out what I think many of us are already thinking:

Credit: @CBC / Twitter

This would at least help explain some of the insanity coming out of the state over the last few months.

But some were a bit more blunt.

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I mean this news is coming from Alabama which just made it a law so that a raped 11-year-old girl could have to carry a pregnancy to term. WTF?

Like this is the state that just took away a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Credit: @SantaInc / Twitter

The banning of the “Arthur” episode is just another incident in a troubling pattern of attacking people’s rights.

The Alabama abortion law wasn’t just an attack on women but women of color in particular. Latinas are more than twice as likely as non-POC to seek an abortion for reasons ranging from economic insecurity to racism and reduced opportunities.

Some on Twitter couldn’t help but point out the shocking irony in this latest news out of the state.

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Like seriously Alabama, where are your priorities?

Though not all in Alabama were celebrating the decision.

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Thankfully, not everyone in Alabama supported the homophobic move. And to each of you, know that you can still stream the episode online!

And thank you to this Twitter user who clapped back at a state that seems to be turning its back on anyone who isn’t a straight, white, male!

Credit: @7News / Twitter

Seriously, Alabama, come on! It’s 2019 and the world is changing. Get. With. It.

READ: Univision Makes History, Announces First Telenovela That Will Star Gay Couple In Leading Role

Hot Tip: If You Ever Want To Bag An Alabama Lawmaker’s Attention Get Pregnant

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Hot Tip: If You Ever Want To Bag An Alabama Lawmaker’s Attention Get Pregnant

Alabama’s new law mandating an almost blanket ban on abortion, the strictest in the United States, was passed by a group of exclusively white, male politicians. The Alabama law will disproportionately affect poor women and women of color because they are less likely to have resources to obtain an abortion out-of-state nor the in-state resources available to white, upper-class women.

The brazen attack on women’s rights, the constitutional right to privacy, is a full-frontal assault and everyone from Rihanna to John Legend and everyone in between has some strong feelings.

Rihanna opted for a Twitter takedown by coming for each of the 25 white men who took away a woman’s right to her body:

Credit: @rihanna / Twitter

She published their pictures to show the true face of privilege: 25 old white men.

Roe V. Wade was a landmark decision in American history and it preserved the fundamental right to an abortion.

That decision stemmed from the right to privacy so there are obviously a ton of people out there who need to be reminded, a woman’s choice is none of anyone’s damn business.

Ava DuVernay is here reminding all of us, it’s abortion and women today, tomorrow it could be you and your rights.

Credit: @ava / Twitter

“First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I’m not Jewish.” But who will be left to speak out for you if you don’t speak up first?

Male allies like John Legend are using their voices to call out this shocking attack on women.

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Thank you, John, for speaking up and shining a light on this madness!

For real though, it’s 2019, how is this still something we are having to fight for?

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We can’t lose sight of our shared progressive goals, because once we do we’ll find ourselves fighting to catch up.

I mean, is this our future?

It wouldn’t be the first time that fiction becomes reality. And it could happen a lot quicker than we expect.

Alabama’s anti-abortion law truly shows wear America’s priorities are at right now.

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Even though nearly 40,000 people died from gun violence just last year. WTF?

And of all the states to pass this “pro-life” bill…are you kidding us?

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This isn’t just an attack on women, it’s a full-frontal assault on women of color in particular.

When pigs fly right?

If all life is valued in Alabama then they should definitely start considering a few other laws…

The hypocrisy makes me physically sick.

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The government spends more than $40 million a year to help men get boners yet not a penny to help at-risk women with their reproductive health needs if it requires an abortion.

The recent passing of Alabama’s law has inspired countless brave women to share their own abortion stories.

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And the Internet is totally here for it. “We see you, we support you, and we’re going to keep fighting like hell for you.” 100%.

Stay out of our bodies!

Maybe these old white Christian men just get turned on by denying women their rights?

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Nothing is hotter than taking away someone’s constitutionally protected rights, am I right?

So to the 25 white men who voted against women’s rights, here’s a tip:

Credit: @PsychoPlease / Twitter

Even though most of you are probably too old, please, for the love of Díos, go get a vasectomy!