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Mr. Gay Ph.D, or Mr. Gay Porn Star?

by Dylan Vox, GayWired

It's a competition set up to establish "future leaders of the gay community". It's open to anyone who wants to participate (as long as they are able to provide two to four pictures for consideration) and can fill out some basic statistical information.

It's the Mr. Gay competition, and this week, Argentina announced their representative that will participating in the 2008 international event that takes place early next year.

The winner is none other than sexy porn star Max Schutler, who has appeared in films like Rush and Release and Bang that Ass.

The question of one's past hardly seems relevant in a competition like this, but it does raise the issue: What exactly constitutes a representative of the gay community, and how well do we as a community accept ourselves?

Technically, the Latin hottie who won the prize is named Jorge Schmeda, but he is probably just as well known by his nom de porn.

The competition is produced by the Noble Beast Foundation, which has created the competition to "raise the visibility of non-stereotypical gay men."

On their website, they claim that their goal is to "humanize gays in the media by providing alternative images for the press that represent more diversity in gay culture by showcasing leaders from around the world," and "confront homophobia by examples and press stories about gay men that show that gay is not a stereotype and do so in a way that creates the most impact and debate".

In the United States, gay porn is often looked upon as representing the gay community in a negative light, but other countries like Argentina have less hang ups about allowing their community to be represented by someone who has participated in the industry.

For most naysayers, the problem isn't so much that a porn star will be representing a country at the competition as it is about the validity of the competition itself.

Mr. Gay USA was awarded last week to Jonathon "JT" Taylor from San Francisco. The sexy guy has two undergraduate degrees in business and biology and is currently working on his Master of Public Health and is planning to become a M.D. He seems like an amazing candidate to represent the gay community, and his amazingly hot looks couldn't have hurt his chances of winning either. But if you really look at the field, they are all incredibly hot, with perfect shapes, great abs and fantastic smiles, so one begins to wonder: What is the competition really about?

The organizers say they are "looking for all types of guys, from gym-bunny to math geek with a passion to lead," but the math geeks seem to have taken a much further back seat to the gym bunnies... like perhaps on a different bus.

Unfortunately, there is very little information about the new Mr. Argentina other than he is the new cover boy of Guapo Magazine, but even if he is a rocket scientist, would that really have been the reason he won?

The organizers insist that they are looking for the "unassuming average Joe who just may be spectacular precisely because he will inevitably say, 'this is not my thing'," but looking at all of the participants and finalists from the past few years, one could hardly say that any of them are average.

They are hot. Gay guys like hot guys. It's that simple. Sure, it's great if some brains and humor are attached to the package, but when it comes down to it, no one is going to give Woody Allen the Mr. Gay Title.

In European and Latin American countries, sex and sexuality are more accepted as a thing of beauty, which is to be admired. For them, electing a hot porn star to represent their country is more of an honor.

In the western world, expressions of sexuality are often looked down upon, even in the most liberal communities. Sexy Jeremy Taylor, aka porn star Christian Owen, was a participant in the Mr. Gay USA Competition, but didn't even place in the final rounds.

Having a well educated man who just happens to look like a porn star is much more accepted in the United States than actually having a real porn star, but the bottom line is that the gay community reveres and honors beauty.

Undoubtedly Mr. Gay Argentina will quickly and discretely fall to the way side when he enters next years ultimate competition, which is being held in Hollywood in January. My thought is the American judges will not look so kindly on his porn background.

But at least the Argentineans were looking at the competition for exactly what it is when they made their choice for a delegate: It's a beauty pageant. It represents the finest looking gay men in the world, and it's great that a porn star was chosen to be part of the event.

There is nothing wrong with porn or rewarding and promoting beauty, but thinly disguising it as a means to conquer gay stereotypes seems like an injustice to the men involved.

Sometimes it's OK to call a spade a spade, and no one will object to the eye candy that will be present at the competition. But if Mr. Gay is truly trying to break down gay stereotypes, then they may have missed the mark.

The gay community is made up of all kinds of people from the old and the ugly to the Adonis like men who grace the covers of magazines, and each of them are trying to earn acceptance in a society that still judges homosexuality as a negative trait.

There are leaders who have made an unflinching commitment to making sure that gay people are represented fairly in politics, sports, arts, entertainment and community service, and those are the true representatives of the gay community.

It's great to break down stereotypes and to show a new face of the community to those around the world, but in order to be accepted by society as a whole, we must first learn to accept ourselves.







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Originally published on Wednesday November 14, 2007.


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