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Thursday 09 October 2008

The quest for condom crusaders continues

Posted in: Events
By Matt Akersten - 26th November 2007

Daniel, Alex, Chris, Shaun, Jayjay, Neil & Rob
Buckwheat and her Gay Men's Health crew have been hitting New Zealand's homo hotspots this month with their Safe Sex Poster Boy heats - and it's made for some interesting viewing on the official competition website!

There've been some stripping partyboys in Wellington, bears & businessmen in Auckland, mature gentlemen and young studs in Christchurch, then it was back up to Auckland last night for some hot 'boys next door' and more…

The six poster categories are: Party Boy, Bear/Cub/Leather, Boy Next Door/Regular Guy, Sportsman, Businessman/Professional and Alternative. More than 85 entries were received for the contest overall - and now 20 finalists in the categories will compete online this week to become glossy Safe Sex Poster Boys for Gay Men's Health in 2008.

Contestants at semifinal events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch had to win over both a panel of community judges and the crowd – who sent in text votes running into the hundreds – with their answers to the question: why do you use condoms?

Last night's antics on stage in Auckland's Family bar brought the semi-finals to a close. Seven guys from all gay walks of life took to the stage in various states of dressed-up and undressed. Businessman Neil Denney told the crowd he always uses condoms because lost close friends in the '80's and '90's from HIV so wasn't taking any risks with his health. Daniel from South Africa was next on stage, saying earnestly: "Safe sex is everyone's business. I want to live as long as I can - to keep on having more safe sex."

Chris & Buckwheat
Then it was the partyboy round, lead by frequent gay media cover model Chris. Showing off his washboard abs, he told the audience why he wants to promote safe sex: "My body is my temple. I want to preserve THIS for as long as possible." Amen!

"Hello, I'm the party boy of Family - I'm always here," responded songwriter Jayjay when he was asked why he entered the partyboy category. "You gotta use a condom, cos it's smart, it's sexy - and I don't wanna get sick," he enthused.

Boy Next Door Alex had a personal story to tell the crowd: "I had a relationship that lasted for a year - then he told me he was HIV positive. I was tested and was fine, because I had safe sex every time."

27-year-old Shaun was the second Boy Next Door to share his thoughts on HIV, saying "people say it'll never happen to me, but it's out there". Then the last one on stage was Robert from Rainbow Youth, who appeared in a kimono to loud cheering from the audience. "The stats show that 50% of young gay men have four or five partners a year," he said - so condoms every time are an important part of looking after your health and the health of people you're sleeping with.

A short break for text votes and conferring judges followed. The Poster Boy hopefuls rallied around the crowd securing their supporters' texts were sent. Then Buckwheat presented the results - Businessman Neil, Partyboy Chris, and Boy Next Door Alex have made it to the online final.

Votes are now being taken at the campaign nerve-centre website from tomorrow until Tuesday 4 December - and you can see video clips from all the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch semi-finals there too. There's some very funny moments in each of the heats - plus plenty of drag drama!

So get voting for your favourite… and good luck to all the boys who entered. The six winners of Safe Sex Poster Boy will be announced on Wednesday 5 December and then they'll be gracing the walls of your local gay venue spreading their safe sex message throughout 2008.

And don't forget you can find all the safe homo sex info you need - and free condoms - right here.

Matt Akersten - 26th November 2007