The newly crowned Mr Gay New Zealand is using his new platform to advocate for LGBTI inclusion and equality.
Ricky Devine White of Marlborough took home the title on Sunday, Stuff has reported.
The Mr Gay World pageant will see contestants from 34 countries compete in challenges including fashion, sports and interviews.
“I now can be an ambassador and a voice for the LGBTQI community and really speak to some of the prevalent issues that we have in our community and I get to take New Zealand to Mr Gay World to try and win the title there too,” said Devine White.
Devine White said he wants to use his new platform to help break down barriers between LGBTI people and the wider community, as well as promoting New Zealand as a progressive nation for diversity.
“I’m trying to take [the title] to the world and promote how wonderful it is to be in New Zealand and to be such a forward-thinking country,” he said.
“One thing that I’m really passionate about is fighting for human rights.
“For me, I would say that in time, what we perceive as normal now, we won’t have to use the phrase ‘gay’ anymore, for example gay marriage will just become marriage.”
Devine White is an advocate for HIV testing, and recently appeared as a model with his husband Arthur in the New Zealand AIDS Foundation’s Ending HIV campaign.
The couple have just celebrated their second wedding anniversary.
Devine White will be appearing at the Auckland and Wellington Pride Parades in New Zealand this month.