READER REPORT:

Is Pride about taking your shirt off?

JULIAN SHERIDAN
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2014
Troy Williams.
mrgaynewzealand/Facebook
BEYOND BUDGIE SMUGGLERS: Pageant winner Troy Williams.

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The Mr Gay New Zealand competition was held last weekend.

How is the winner for such a competition chosen? Is it based on their charitable work? How much time they spend involved in the gay community? Their thoughts about issues the community is facing? Ideas and plans they have for the future? Their strength of character and demeanor?

Answer: All of the above. Oh, and their abs, don't forget the abs.

This is common right? Iwi leaders often need to show how good they look in sportswear. The Duke of Edinburgh awards surely have a formalware fashion show?

Who would vote for an MP you hadn't seen walk up and down a catwalk in their tiniest speedos? It just makes sense!

Apparently to the organisers of Mr Gay New Zealand it does anyway.

Keep in mind, this isn't a beauty pageant. It isn't a bunch of attractive guys just having fun and a laugh in a club to see who is hottest, no it is serious.

Mr Gay NZ becomes an "ambassador that his nation and local community is proud of ... a diplomat of goodwill".

They even release a score card. There is an online poll, and a quiz which takes up 25 percent of the score.

Ten per cent is charity (which usually involves collecting money with your shirt off), a whopping 30 per cent is the interview, (though it appears that how good you look during the interview is more important than what you are saying).

Fifteen per cent is how fit you are and another 20 per cent is on your formalware, sportsware and swimsuit.

So according to Mr Gay New Zealand, the gay community can only be proud of physically fit people who look good half naked and look good when saying "homophobia is bad, mmkay".

I wouldn't actually go so far as to say some of these contestants wouldn't be good ambassadors. Just because you DO look good in a pair of budgie smugglers, doesn't mean you can't be smart, charitable and giving.

The issue is that of the people who are smart, charitable and good looking, not many of them want to get their bits out in public to prove it.

This competition is saying, blatantly, that hot guys are more important to the community than guys who aren't hot. That you can be as charitable as you want, but if you don't do it with your shirt off, your contributions aren't as valuable as those who do. Your thoughts on homophobia, adoption, HIV prevention are interesting and all, but the suit you wore when telling us about them was a bit cheap so we didn't pay attention.

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Pride festival is about celebrating the GLBTI community, which is made of people of diverse races, faces, body shapes, abilities, interests, loves and fears ... so let's find the hottest, whitest guy around to represent us! Again.

You don't even have to be gay to enter!


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