Mr. Gay Europe, a sort-of gay Miss America competition, chose its winner this weekend: a 20-year-old Swede named Jack Johansson.
Johansson, a ballet student, was the youngest competitor of the 15 delegates vying to represent the face of (young, male) gay Europe. The competition played out in Vienna and other Austrian locales, with Johansson acing many of the 12 different talent, modeling, and sports challenges. Robert Prolic, a 23-year-old Austrian, was the first runner-up, with a Brit and Dane rounding out the top four.
As winner, Johansson will now take part in Pride festivals and other LGBT events across Europe. Johansson says he's happy many young LGBT kids see him as a role model:
“When I got secretly nominated for Mr. Gay Sweden, I decided to participate and make it a summer adventure as I had work the whole summer. And when I won, I realized that a lot of people, especially young boys, saw me as a role model - to be a role model for boys and girls who don’t really know who they are, and to be able to guide them through their hard times has been a true privilege. I have received a lot of mail varying from young boys needing guiding to old men needing acceptance. I want to be selected to become Mr. Gay Europe to have a chance to continue being this role model, and take my actions of helping others to a higher level. To continue be a person that not openly gay people can rely on, but everyone.”