Every vote counts for Mr Gay World
The following message arrived in a handbook describing the requirements for the Mr Gay World 2018 competition.
‘‘Mr Gay World is not a beauty contest as many confuse it to be, but rather an event to unite countries from around the world with men who availed them to be a role model, leader and symbol of change.
‘‘You being able to attend Mr Gay World means that you have the freedom or a certain amount of freedom to live your sexuality out and be yourself, however there are still millions of people living in fear for being gay and that is your challenge and goal as a Mr Gay World to help the world understand the LGBTQI+ lifestyle and who we are.’’
With those comments, from Mr Gay World chairperson Igor Scheurkogel, it finally hits home that I have only five more weeks until I compete for the title of Mr Gay World, from May 21.
I am nervous, I am excited, but most of all I feel extremely humbled to be chosen as a national delegate to represent New Zealand.
The official handbook outlines all of the requirements for the competition including a daily timetable, full of charity events, panel/media interviews, fundraising auctions, school visits to donate educational books, sports challenges and photo shoots.
More importantly it outlines how the scoring for the competition works, and where you are best to start practising; the photogenic, written test, social responsibility campaign, social media task, online vote, video, swimwear formal wear, and national costume categories are all worth 5 per cent, with the sports challenge worth 10 per cent and a personal interview making up 15 per cent of the marks.
The remaining 10 per cent is reworked if you make the top 10. The first challenges are already under way - the online vote and video introduction.
Everyone is able to participate and support by watching the video and voting for me/New Zealand. Traditionally based on the size of our population compared to other European or Asian countries, our voting has been of a smaller overall quantity but already we are showing that we can compete regardless. I need everyone to vote and vote again. A huge thank you to everyone who has voted so far.
The last things to prepare for the competition include finding sponsors for the formal wear section and creating a national costume that will be presented during a parade in South Africa and at the grand finale and announcement of Mr Gay World 2018.
This week I did have the privilege of having a private dinner with Lydia Schiavello, original member of the Real Housewives of Melbourne. To some that may seem a random thing to do but aligning yourself to have an audience with strong-minded, positively energised people can do a lot for your own personal journey.
To come this weekend is the Dunedin PrEP Forum on Friday, April 13, followed by the Dunedin Pride Party on Saturday, April 14, both of which are sponsored by Ending HIV NZ, for which I aman ambassador. I can’t wait to be a part of both and meet the LGBTQI + community in Dunedin.
I believe sharing the PrEP Forum with more regions will help to educate about safer sex options. Our aim: to end all new transmissions of HIV by 2025.
Voting for Mr Gay World 2018 can be made at mrgayworld.com/ delegates/voting-page-2018/. Once registered, you can vote once a day.
Mr Gay NZ Ricky Devine White cooking with Lydia Schiavello, one of the original Real Housewives of Melbourne.