As part of the 20th annual WinterPRIDE festivities being held in Whistler, Thomas Egli has been named Mr. Gay Canada 2012.
The Mr. Gay Canada competition, now in its fourth year as part of the WinterPRIDE celebrations, determines who will represent Canada in the prestigious Mr. Gay World competition in Johannesburg, South Africa, which takes place this April.
With five contestants vying for the spot, Egli was selected following three days of participating in challenges, which included a swim suit competition, mini fashion show, sports challenge, interviews and presentation skills.
"This journey has been exceptional and exciting. The weeks leading up to this competition and the events themselves have taught me much about myself and I have grown much more than I could have expected," said Egli in a statement. "I am honoured to serve as a much-needed positive role model for LGBT youth in Canada and around the world."
The Vancouver-based Egli divides his time as an international tour leader and an ecologist, being an owner of a research diving company as well as an educator with National Geographic. He also actively spreads the message to LGBT youth that being gay is not about stereotypes, but about self expression.
"Popular media and gay culture bombard us with stereotypes which can be confusing for people who are just coming out. I want to increase awareness of the true diversity of the LGBT community," said Egli. "I also want to promote healthy lifestyles in the gay community. I am thankful for all of the support I've received from family and friends, new and old. The next exciting step is to prepare for the upcoming event in South Africa , where I will proudly represent Canada."
Ken Coolen, Co-Executive Producer of Mr. Gay Canada also said in a statement, "All five delegates are incredible role models for Canada's LGBT community and worthy of being Mr. Gay Canada. The Judging panel was especially impressed by Thomas' maturity and leadership. They are confident in his ability to represent Canada's LGBT community to the world."
Also awarded at the February 11th ceremonies were:
Calan Breckon - Won Mr. Congeniality 2012
Brian Webb - Won People's Choice Online Voting 2012