Entries for Mr Gay Namibia 2018 are now open and former winner and organiser Wendelinus Hamutenya encourages gay Namibian men to be brave and enter.
"Mr Gay Namibia is a spokesperson dedicated to celebrating the beauty and diversity of manhood in Namibia. Recognising that there's more than one way to be man, Mr Gay Namibia was launched officially in August 2011 as a clarion call to unite the country's gay men in presenting a fun, festive and friendly image of the gay community in Namibia," Hamutenya said.
The pageant is organised by Right For All Movement (RAM) and is the former Mr Gay Namibia's way of trying to give back to the LGBTI community. "Mr Gay Namibia aims to fearlessly build interaction between mainstream culture and the contemporary gay scene," he added.
Hamutenya mentioned that in doing so, the pageant aims to promote equality, tolerance, understanding and an authentic enjoyment of Namibia's cultural diversity.
"The winner of Mr Gay Namibia is a fine, fit and youthful specimen of manhood who is a confident and articulate ambassador of the country's gay populace," Hamutenya said. The winner will also have the opportunity to represent Namibia at the annual Mr Gay World pageant to be held in Hong Kong.
"We will be looking at categories such as best interview, best formal wear, Mr Photogenic, best social responsibility campaign as well as best national costume."
An entrant to this year's pageant, Collin van der Westhuizen says the platform means a new step towards freedom of speech. "This is important because to me it means having a voice to speak - to speak out for my friends and family," he said, adding this also presents opportunity to educate around topics near to the LGBTI community.
Van der Westhuizen said he's not scared of the hate-speech or stigma that might come with being part of the pageant. "I've been through discrimination and stigma before. My self-esteem is strong now," he said. "I think I'm quite ready to compete and I want to make a difference in this community."
The pageant will take place on 25 August and entries are open until 31 June. Entry forms are available at the Out Right Namibia (ORN) head offices in Windhoek West or by contacting Hamutenya at 081 580 0099 or email@example.com.