Sydneysider David Francis is set to represent Australia in the 2017 Mr Gay World contest.
The 29-year-old hopes to be the first Australian to take out the title when the pageant finals are held in Spain during May.
Francis is using his position as a Mr Gay World contestant to fight for what he believes in and to be an inclusive voice for the queer community.
“The Mr Gay World competition is an internationally recognised platform that encourages all its representatives to have their own voice in the LGBTIQA+ community and fight for what they believe in on issues such as acceptance, equality and respect. I want to be that voice,” he said.
Francis has a huge social media influence, with over 40,000 Instagram followers and a YouTube channel. He also volunteers as an ambassador for StartOut Australia, a mental health charity that is developing a mentoring program for young queer and gender diverse people.
“Representing Australia and winning the Mr Gay World Title in 2017 would be such an amazing opportunity to spread these messages of unity and support to some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” he said.
“It would prove to the teenage version of myself that you can become somebody you never in your wildest dreams thought you could become; the person you needed when you were growing up.
“But most importantly, it would be a platform from which to inspire, encourage and empower other young people who might be struggling, to take control of their lives and believe in themselves to achieve anything they set their mind to.”
Igor Scheurkogel, Director of Mr Gay World Asia, Africa and Oceania, said he wishes Francis the best and knows he will make Australia proud.
“David is one of those individuals that has been through what so many young people today do not understand about being bullied for who you are,” said Scheurkogel.
“But he rose higher and represents the kind of the person the Mr Gay World brand wants: a role model and someone that the youth can look up to.”
The Mr Gay World finals will be held in Madrid and Maspalomas from 5-10 May.