Chances of the winner of Mr Gay Canada 2012 being from Vancouver just got a whole lot better as organizers announced that those vying for the title this year includes five locals in its field of six.
The five from Vancouver include The Diversity Project’s Calan Breckon, activist Ryan Clayton, blogger Brian Webb, youth worker Jeremy Long and environmental consultant Thomas Egli. The sole competitor from outside Vancouver is Ontario resident Rick Renaud.
For contestant Ryan Clayton, while he admits that he wants to have some fun and competing at Mr Gay World in Johannesburg this April would be a definite perk, there is also the more serious side to the contest: “My big goal? Focus on getting people motivated to change things and create the world around them that they want to live in. We have a lot to celebrate in Canada but there are some places we need to improve. I want to find ways to do that anywhere I can.”
For Brian Webb it is all about being a role model for those that may have grown up outside urban centers: “I decided to compete in the Mr. Gay Canada competition to show others how anyone, including those from smaller, rural communities, can control their own destiny and lead successful lives.”
Calan Breckon believes that one person really can make a difference: “I want to show not only young gay males but all LGBT youth that they can grow up to be someone so much greater than they ever imagined. That with belief and love for yourself you can truly overcome any situation you’re in and at the end of the day it’s all worth it.”
As the lone outsider, Rick Renaud says that economic factors most likely prevent a wider field of contestants as each is responsible for their own travel to Whister for the competition. For Renaud he hopes his participation will help lead to a ripple effect within our community: “By being there to support victims of bullying, by making positive spaces, to becoming an ally – everyone can make the ripple reach further.”
The three-day event that coincides with Whistler’s WinterPRIDE in February and will see the six participate in a series of physical tests and interviews with judges. The crowning of Mr Gay Canada will also be filmed as part of a reality television series for OUTtv.
In a recent press release, Mr Gay Canada producer Dean Nelson (pictured right with Mr Gay Canada 2011 Rob Goddard) said the mission of the competition is to advance national and international gay rights through education and public performance.
The public is also being invited to participate by voting online for the people’s choice award.