For the first time ever, the city of Brotherly Love hosted the national Mr. Gay competition.
"We're really excited about being in Philadelphia. . .The Liberty Bell is about liberty. It's about this idea that we are U.S. citizens, that we have the right to be here, the first gay protests were in Philadelphia in 1965. . .So really, this whole movement to create equality, was born here," says Don Spradlin, who started the competition in 2005 to combat gay stereotypes.
"There were long-running contests for drag queens, for leather, for muscle...but not for the regular gay guy, " Spradlin explained as as the 20 men who competed for this year's title finished their Friday night photo shoot in front of the Liberty Bell.
Eddie Rabon, Mr. Gay Columbia, won the contest Saturday night. Mr. Gay Philadelphia, Ryan Mattis, was the 1st runner up.
Our area was well represented this year with men from Philadelphia, Allentown, Rehoboth Beach, New Hope, Asbury Park and New Brunswick. The winner won't get a dime and it's not about being the best eye candy Spradlin says -- it's about finding the guy who will do the best job of community outreach and furthering the education mission.
"They get to help us spread this word about combating homosexuality's gay stereotype, which we all know is false," Spradlin says.
Adam Boyles, U.S. Mr. Gay 2010, says one of the most rewarding parts of his reign was, "talking to youth everywhere [telling them] just to be yourself. Be who you are and everything will be fine."