I watched Mr Gay UK 2004 last night (or rather, I fastforwarded through it on Tivo). It reminded me of sneaking out of bed in the 1970s to watch Miss World on television. Commentators are always saying that gay culture is ahead of straight culture. I think in the case of beauty contests, we're still rather behind the mainstream.
It goes without saying that a lot of the contestants were orange, hairless and in the 20s or teens. I wouldn't abolish a beauty contest entirely, but I don't like that it's the only contest for British gay men. I would like another contest which places less emphasis on looks and more on actual achievements (political or otherwise) by gay men. Previous winners would be people like Will Young and George Michael (who reacted to being "outed" with grace, style and humour), Peter Tatchell (who campaigns tirelessly for gay rights across the world and puts up with a lot of abuse for it), Lord Alli (who as the only openly gay man in the House of Lords is often the voice of reason in the madhouse) and Duncan Lustig-Prean, a naval commander who was sacked for being gay and challenged the UK's laws on letting gay people serve in the military.
Daran Little, who has written excellent storylines handling coming out on Coronation Street (and is probably responsible for changing attitudes at a grassroots level than anyone else) is my nomination for this year's Mr Gay UK. This are people who are inspiring because they are making a difference - their legacy will be around long after the latest gym-queen du jour has been forgotten.