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Straight and Proud?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006, 22:57 EST Leave a comment Go to comments

I just heard about an event coming up next month in Worcester, Massachusetts—just a block away from the Den Mother’s office, as a matter of fact—that has stirred up a big o’ controversy in these parts. A Mr. Hetero pageant-style contest is scheduled for February 18 at a posh downtown concert hall, and the local gay community isn’t too happy about it.

According to the web site for the event, which was thought up by a minister of some sort, Mr. Hetero is a response to a "Mr. Gay" contest that recently took place in San Diego. My research found a Mr. Gay USA and a Mr. Gay International, which seem to be two phases of the same contest, analogous to Miss USA and Miss Universe.

So what exactly is the Mr. Gay contest? It appears to be a fairly standard pageant-style contest, with swimsuit and apparel segments, a talent competition, and a personal interview. It doesn’t seem to be after tawdry entries, explicitly banning thongs from the swimsuit competition. As far as I could see, neither web site mentions anything disparaging about heterosexual men or asserts, explicitly or implicitly, that homosexuality is superior to heterosexuality. The Mr. Gay organizers don’t seem to say anything at all about heterosexuality at all. In fact, nothing in the contestant rules and regulations even requires a contestant to be gay, not that I can think of a reason why a heterosexual man would enter the Mr. Gay contest.

It is in response to that contest that minister Tom Crouse is having the "Mr. Hetero" contest. One might expect a similar event but for heterosexual men. But that isn’t all it is. Rather than being merely a contest for fun and prizes, this one is, according to the web site, "a celebration of God’s design (and other politically incorrect activities)" whose purpose is to "glorify God in every way" and celebrate "God’s design of Heterosexuality". In terms that Mr. Crouse himself might use, Mr. Hetero is deliberately designed to flaunt the sexual orientation of straight men.

Now I personally find exclusionary contests—the Latin Grammys and Miss Black America, for example—distasteful, and a "Mr. Gay" would certainly fall into that category. But those events can say in their own defense that they are not designed to put down Anglo musical performers or white/Asian/indigenous women or straight men. If people of certain affinities want to have special events celebrating what they have in common, without putting down others, them I am hard pressed to complain too much.

But Mr. Hetero is obviously different. It is designed to proclaim that homosexuality is unnatural, inferior, and deserving of mockery. That’s why it merits all the opposition it gets.

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