“Translators? Why do you need translators?” In 2006 an American producer was visiting Mr. Gay Europe in Amsterdam to do some research on how we did things “over here”. I showed him around the venue of the Grand Finale, and told him where we were going to place the judges, the journalists and – the translators.

I had to explain to the man that Europe consists of almost 50 sovereign countries, and that some states have more than one official language. “Why don’t you all speak English?” he responded, and I got the feeling of a lost cause.

Europe is indeed a diverse and multi-cultural continent – and people from different parts of Europe not only speak different languages – we think, act, behave, flirt, communicate and do things very differently.

Until now, we at MGE have been working with producers in Norway, Hungary, The Netherlands and Romania in connection with the European final – this year we have chosen to work with Italians. People from the very north of Europe working and communicating with people from the very south of Europe – this is going to be an interesting learning experience for the both parties.

I have already been to Rome several times in the last few months, and I have to admit; this crazy, charming, flirting, busy, loud, cultural and eternal city is growing on me. I have learned to make my own espresso on open gas flames, I have taken a taxi rides during rush hour and survived, I have learned that when the lawyers don’t call back as agreed, the whole meeting goes out for a coffee, and I now communicate with my hands in Italian even if I speak English, German or Norwegian.

This is what Mr Gay Europe is all about; connecting, communication and learning to trust and respect each other, and to work together for the common cause; gay pride and human rights.

I can’t wait to go back this summer; to greet Delegates from all over Europe in Gay Village and Rome. Will I see you there as well?