Gay pageant in Norway seeks global role model

Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:38pm EST
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By Gwladys Fouche and Kurt Pedersen

OSLO (Reuters Life!) - Nearly two dozen men from five continents sashayed down the stage of an Oslo club on Saturday night competing to be crowned Worldwide Mr Gay, the winner of an international pageant for gay men.

The crowd hooted and cheered as contestants, wearing hotpants, feathered headdresses or cowboy outfits, did their best to woo the eight-judge panel.

The aim of the event was to find a global role model for young men coming to terms with their sexual orientation.

"We want them to think 'hey, it's OK to be gay,' said judge Eric Butter, the president of Worldwide Mr Gay.

"We hope we can make it easier for these young kids, and their parents, to understand what they are going through," he told Reuters.

Contestants worked hard to prepare for the pageant.

"I have been to the gym two hours every day, Monday to Saturday, working with the weights and building up the abs," said Mr. Gay Mexico, 34-year-old Jair Vega.

Despite legal changes in many countries allowing same-sex couples the right to marry or adoption, many homosexuals around the world face discrimination, harassment or imprisonment.   Continued...