A month has flown by since the final of Mr Gay Europe 2016 and leaving Oppdal in Norway, and it has certainly been a life changing experience for our 2016 delegates. As my first year of Managing Director of MGE it has been my absolute pleasure continuing not only a working relationship with all the delegates but continuing a personal friendship with them all too.

Since saying goodbye in Norway it has been very rewarding for me to keep in contact with all the Mr Gays of 2016 and see them flourish as they went home with a new sense of vigour and commitment, and watch as they actively use their voices to draw awareness to causes which are close to their hearts. So I thought I would use this as a chance to tell you what a few of them have been up to.

Mr Gay Ireland, having returned home from Mr Gay Europe has since set into motion working on the management side of Mr Gay Ireland. Konrad is actively working to help fund raise for Irish LGBTI charities, promote equality and help find the next Mr Gay Ireland that will follow in his footsteps. And let me tell you, the next MGI has some pretty big shoes to fill and a superhero backpack to follow behind.

Mr Gay Wales has returned home and continues to promote his campaign, #NeverStopBeingYou which encourages all people from not only our LGBTI community, but from the straight community also to embrace each other for all their differences and unique qualities, and accept each other with open arms and a hug. Paul has attended a lot of Prides in Wales and was even one of the leaders of the Pride Cymru event. He uses his social media presence to bring awareness to Pride Festivals and records, edits and presents his own online videos to bring awareness to equality in Wales. Paul also continues to work for Pink Sixty News and reports weekly on the LGBTI news affecting the world via the online news platform.

Joni, Mr Gay England, has taken to use his voice to being a spokesperson for those affected by suicide. Suicide is quite a taboo still in the Western Culture, and he is using the Mr Gay platform to the best of his advantage to be an ambassador for this cause, which I know is so dear to his heart. He is working with a campaign called #insideout #askmewhy which asks people to swallow their pride and let your feelings inside, out. Suicide can affect so many people from all different backgrounds whether they be LGBTI or straight, so I am very proud that he is working to bring awareness to this as in the future, this campaign will help to save lives.

A lot of people ask me why a Mr Gay competition exists. ‘Are they not just beauty pageants for bimbos? Do you have to have a six pack to enter Mr Gay Europe?’ And my answer is always no! Mr Gay Europe is there to be a voice for those who do not have one. ‘Where is your proof?’ they would always ask and my answer is quite clearly here, in our Mr Gay delegates and in all that our Mr Gay boys have done and continue to do outside of the competition; our delegates undoubtedly do use their voices as a voice for others, and will continue to do so for everyone in Europe and around the world. This is why our competition is here. This is why Mr Gay Europe exists! And here is your evidence, right there. You do not even have to win the competition to make a difference in your country. And all our boys are living proof that you can make a change, no matter how big or small; all you have to do, is use your voice.