Forget about trying compare the recent Mr. Gay Canada Vancouver competition to a gay man’s beauty pageant; for winner Brandon Hamilton it was all about confidence, integrity, awareness and community involvement in a quest for a spokesperson for Vancouver’s LGBTQ community.
“Seventy-five percent of the final scores were based purely on the interviews that we gave. The scoring was done by a diverse panel of judges who are outreach minded and are also involved in our communities,” says Hamilton. “There was no audience voting so everyone had a fair chance.”
In fact it is the interviews that Hamilton says were the toughest part of the competition and reinforced for him how different the process was from the usual pageant for contestants.
“The questions were thoughtful, complex and unexpected, but I think it set precedence for the competition in how much it wasn’t a pageant,” he says.
A personal trainer by trade, Hamilton sees similarities between what he does for a living and winning the title as they are not just about fitness, but also involves a more holistic approach to life.
“When I was approached about this competition I thought that this would be a fantastic way to reach out to entire communities throughout our nation and the globe to fight stigma, violence and homophobia by feeling confident and happy enough in our own lives to help others,” explains Hamilton.
Citing it as a “perfect year” for him to be involved with the competition given U.S. President Obama’s support for same-sex marriage and Uganda’s anti-homosexual bill stripping away basic human rights, Hamilton says it is time to stand-up and give support to those communities that are less privileged than those at home.
“I hope to inspire people to consider our less fortunate communities throughout the world and collectively aid in the eventual extinction of homophobia,” says Hamilton. “I’d also like to empower and educate on how to take care of our bodies and holistic health so we can destroy stereotypes by being unique and confident individuals with something to offer the world.”
As this year’s winner, Hamilton now goes on to represent Vancouver in the Mr. Gay Canada competition that will take place during February’s WinterPride gay ski week in Whistler. A win there could send him to the Mr. Gay World competition which will take place during the World Outgames in Antwerp, Belgium in August next year.
Thinking about a possible Mr. Gay Canada win, Hamilton says it is more than just a title, but also an opportunity to represent Canada on a global stage and to encourage safe and accepting communities throughout the world where violence and homophobia are still rampant.
“It’s also an opportunity for me to help strengthen communities through the awareness and implementation of holistic health,” says Hamilton. “If we start with ourselves we can then impact others.”