NEW MILFORD, N.J. – Growing up, Disha Dass of New Milford experienced bullying first-hand.
“Experiencing bullying and experiencing discrimination because of my identity as bisexual, it really shaped my perception of the world,” the newly-crowned Miss Bergen County told Daily Voice.
But it also taught her a valuable lesson.
“What I learned is that the more people got to know me and the more people understood who I was, the harder a time they had holding that prejudice,” she said.
Dass, now 23, is using her new position as Miss Bergen County to advocate for the LGBTQ community, and share that lesson with others.
“I am hoping that through my platform, through being a title holder, through being a representative of the Miss America organization, that people will see me, people will see that LGBTQ individuals are just like anyone else and they are also deserving of love and respect and equality,” the Rutgers University graduate student said.
Her platform is: Love Will Win Beyond Marriage Equality.
Dass, who earned her undergraduate degree from The College of New Jersey, said that after the advent of marriage equality, she saw the movement was “sort of stalling” and there are a lot of other important issues impacting the LGBTQ community where progress can be made. She sited employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and homeless youth as examples.
“My platform works to both create social awareness and acceptance for the LGBTQ community as well as doing what I can to get in front of government officials to help create policy change,” she said.
Dass will go on to compete for Miss New Jersey in June.
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