Overweight gays and lesbians are being sought to take part in a Biggest Loser-style competition being run by the Stonewall Hotel and Gold’s Gym.

The contestants -“ who should be at least 25 kilos overweight -“ will each be given a membership at Gold’s, a personal trainer, a dietician and undergo medical and psychological testing.

They will attend a weigh-in every Monday night at Stonewall, where video footage of their week’s workout will also be played. As on the hit TV show, the person who loses the most weight after three months will win the competition.

The idea to hold the community-based comp, titled The Battle of the Bulge, came from drag identity (and SSO columnist) Maxi Shield, who in the past year has undergone a dramatic transformation herself after losing an impressive 23kg.

Apart from hoping to help others get fit, Maxi was keen to present a different image of gay people to Sydney’s gay community -“ one a little more realistic than what’s usually served up to them.

One thing I desperately wanted was a show focusing on normal people. To have normal people get up on stage and have an audience cheering for them, Maxi, who is hosting the competition, said.

A lot of the other shows you see, like underwear contests, basically just promote people who are fit and gorgeous and we’re not all like that.

Mac Nomura from Gold’s Gym agreed the contest wasn’t just about helping the contestants get fit, but to address these issues within the community about overweight people.

Overweight gays and lesbians are often the butt of jokes or virtually invisible in the community, Nomura said.

I’d say most overweight people know they have to come to a gym but are afraid to take that first step of walking into a gym, he said.

When they’re invisible to the public and they’re ashamed, they’re ignored. They know that they should come to a gym and get healthy, but they’re comfortable being invisible.

Stonewall’s Glenn Hansen stressed the competition, which will start in about a month, wouldn’t make fun of overweight people. It’s all about respecting them and encouraging them, he said.

We need to make it fun but it’s also serious because we’re dealing with people who might be self-conscious. We’ll be doing our best to ease their nerves before going on stage.

Anyone interested in taking part can contact Glenn Hansen on 9360 1963, glenn@stonewallhotel.com, or Mac Nomura on 9264 4496, info@goldsgymsydney.com.

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