E Lon­don coun­cil­lor voted Mr Gay SA

DA man on drive for more tol­er­ance

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - MAR­I­ANNE MERTEN

A DA COUN­CIL­LOR from East Lon­don has been named Mr Gay SA, prompt­ing a stand­ing ova­tion from his Buf­falo City Metro coun­cil col­leagues at this week’s meet­ing.

Lance Weyer told Week­end Ar­gus the win had come as “quite a sur­prise”.

And he’s in­tent on mak­ing 2012 a big year for rais­ing lev­els of ac­cep­tance of the les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der and in­ter­sex (LGBTI) com­mu­nity.

“There is tol­er­ance, but not nec­es­sar­ily ac­cep­tance,” the 24year-old said. “I want to help South Africans be more ac­cept­ing of the LGBTI com­mu­nity.”

In his ac­cep­tance speech at the Lyric The­atre in Gold Reef City last Satur­day, he told fel­low con­tes­tants and the au­di­ence that Mr Gay SA should be a role model.

“Too many young peo­ple re­sort to sui­cide and sub­stance abuse be­cause they be­lieve that be­ing ho­mo­sex­ual is a so­cial death sen­tence. The youth need suit­able role mod­els to look up to, who they can be proud of,” Weyer said.

SA is widely hailed as hav- ing one of the world’s most pro­gres­sive con­sti­tu­tions, with a Bill of Rights sec­ond to none.

“( This) has helped bring about tol­er­ance to­wards the LGBTI com­mu­nity in SA. I’d like to see this tol­er­ance turned into ac­cep­tance,” said Weyer.

Weyer, who par­tic­i­pated in the Mr Pink Lo­erie Mardi Gras ear­lier this year, hosted a suc­cess­ful Face­book cam­paign to gar­ner votes which, ac­cord­ing to mamba online, led to him re­ceiv­ing the most pub­lic votes.

He also walked off with the Bone Wear Un­der­wear Model prize, the web­site re­ported.

The ti­tle means he will rep­re­sent the coun­try in the world con­test next year.

Back in East Lon­don, which be­came a fully fledged met­ro­pol­i­tan coun­cil along­side oth­ers like Cape Town, Jo­han­nes­burg and Tsh­wane af­ter the May mu­nic­i­pal poll, Weyer serves on the pub­lic ac­counts com­mit­tee, the watch­dog on pub­lic spend­ing, and the health and pub­lic safety com­mit­tees.

He is also in­volved in spe­cial pro­grammes fo­cus­ing on is­sues in­clud­ing HIV/AIDS, TB and women, chil­dren and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. He is also a mem­ber of the Frere Hos­pi­tal board of di­rec­tors.

In the fi­nal­ist pro­files on the Mr Gay SA web­site, Weyer says one of his role mod­els is Har­vey Milk, the first openly gay politi­cian in the US who was re­spon­si­ble for pass­ing a se­ries of gay rights laws in San Fran- cisco dur­ing the 1970s.

The Cal­i­for­nia politi­cian’s life was fea­tured in the 2008 movie Milk, star­ring Sean Penn in the ti­tle role.

PROUD: Lance Weyer has plenty to smile about af­ter win­ning the Mr Gay SA ti­tle.

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