It has been 4 months since I became Mr Gay Europe 2016, and a lot has changed since then. I feel like I am surrounding myself with positivity, drive, strength and people who are on the same level.
During my time I already have learned a lot of things. I have seen a lot of people who are activists, who go for equal rights and who fight for what they believe in for the LGBT-community. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing people being so brave to put themselves out there.
Also, I have met a lot of people who actually don’t go for equal rights, but they do want to be happy in the country they live in.
I feel like everyone is going for the same things, but in their own way. Everyone is trying to be who they think they can be. Everyone is trying to be the version of themselves where they can be themselves and not have to think about the ‘box’ they belong in.
As I said, since Mr Gay Europe a lot has changed in my life. I feel like I have a voice and people really find my opinion important. There has happened a lot in the meantime, for example the new chosen president of the United States of America, the changing of the blood-donation law in Belgium, opinions about Prepp and adoption for same sex couples… People now actually listen to the things I say and talk to me about, sometimes, very personal things.
For example I wrote a piece for an education brochure about Transgender in sports. How to react to them, how to deal with discrimination or bad reactions… Also I was in one of the biggest education magazines in Belgium about how I inspire my students to be open minded and understanding towards the LGBT-community.
I never had imagined that being, or trying to be, a role model would be so rewarding. When things in the news happen, events are coming, topics are talked about in the media, national and international press and blogs want to know what my thoughts are on that matter, which I think is a huge appreciation for what I try to do for the community.
I have given a lot of speeches, presentations, talk-evenings,… and I never get enough of learning people things. As a profession I am a teacher, so I love to be able to share things with people. In these speeches and presentations I always have another audience; LGBT, straight people, readers of a certain magazine, athletes, people of different beliefs… and I love how people really want to communicate with each other.
In my previous blog i said “My biggest dream is, that one day, we can all love each other without hate, violence and prejudice. If we stand together we will, but we still have a long way to go…” and I still feel the same. We still have a long way to go, but together we can make a difference.