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Voting Open in International Mr. Gay Competition

By L.K. Regan

Voting is open online in the International Mr. Gay competition, and there are some very fine men to choose from. These include the American entry, Eddie Rabon (shown in accompanying photo). You have until January 31 to choose from among the 27 entrants and make your vote online. Decisions, decisions....

The voting is open at, where profiles of 27 handsome men are displayed for site visitors to pick from. Many of them come from countries where they could face discrimination and even persecution. Representatives from, for example, Iran, Pakistan, Mozambique and Bosnia join the American, British and Canadian delegates. The Noble Beast Foundation, which sponsors the contest, is a nonprofit whose mission is to "advocate international equal rights by confirming the essential nature and contributions of gay men to a healthy society." The delegates, therefore, are not just good-looking, but, the Foundation says, "men with the individual flair and intelligence to serve as a successful role model in confronting gay stereotypes."

Mr. Gay USA, the American delegate, is 25-year-old Eddie Rabon originally from Lexington, South Carolina (he now lives in New York City). He was chosen as the result of a contest in November wherein 20 men competed over two days in question and answer, swimsuit and evening-wear events. Among the competitors, Rabon reigned supreme. And one can easily see why. He's handsome, he has a degree in musical theatre, he's a school administrator, and he is involved an AIDS charity. Perhaps we should mention that you can vote once per day.

The Mr. Gay competition has taken place each year since 2005; since 2008, the Noble Beast Foundation's annual awards show has also included a "HERO Award," given to a person who makes a major contribution to the advancement of gay rights. Previous winners include Nikolai Alekseev, a Russian activist who has struggled to bring equality to his country, most famously by organizing the first gay pride parade in Moscow in 2006—a parade that was violently attacked as police stood by, not intervening. Voting for International Mr. Gay is both fun, and contributes to the gay rights movement worldwide. Why not check it out?