America’s next top gay

Posted on 25 Oct 2009 at 2:51pm
By RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

Dallas welcomes California’s U.S. Mr. Gay pageant to Texas


STRUT THEIR STUFF ON THE CATWALK | Dallas pageant veteran Peter O’Porras, inset below, lured the U.S. Mr. Gay competition out of California for the first time.

PROJECT RUNWAY
U.S. Mr. Gay, Warwick Melrose Hotel Ballroom, 3015 Oak Lawn Ave. Nov. 27–29. $25.
PeterOPorrasProductions.com

Carrie Prejean’s worst nightmare is about to come true. No, gays still can’t get married. But one gay male is going to do what she couldn’t: Win a national pageant.

Ouch.

The 2010 U.S. Mr. Gay competition, which has always taken place in California, comes to Dallas for the first time, and it’s all thanks to local producer Peter O’Porras. O’Porras, a veteran of the North Texas pageant scene, wanted to bring a major contest to Big D. So he pitched the city to the board of the Noble Beast Foundation, the owners of the contest. Against the odds, he succeeded.

"I was thrilled when I heard they opted to bring it here," he says. "I’m proud of being a Texan [and] Dallas has a very strong GLBT community. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do too much selling because president of Noble grew up in Oklahoma and is familiar with the scene in Dallas."

Prejean and her ilk sometimes cultivate the notion that pageants are full of stereotypes … and that can apply to the male ones. But the tagline for 2010′s U.S. Mr. Gay — "Gay is not a stereotype" — is also the pageant’s mission. The competition expects "to feature non-stereotypical gay or bisexual men in an exciting and entertaining manner. Judges will be searching beyond looks for someone who is genuine and can be a successful role model for the non-stereotypical gay man."

So what exactly does that mean?

"Unfortunately there are still people out there who associate the term gay, or even bi or trans, as flamboyant, not of good character or something negative. We’re trying to give a different picture," O’Porras says.

With six competitors from around the state entered in the contest, Texas hopes to pull off a good showing. Of course, that might add some pressure to hometown contestant Trey Maxwell.

"I’m very excited and I want to be a part of the community and have a positive affect on it. What makes me nervous are my high hopes. But I’ve been in pageants before, so I have the experience," the 20-year-old sales rep and pageant hopeful says.

U.S. Mr. Gay is philanthropic in its efforts, with ticket sales and funds raised by contestants donated to organizations that provide services to the LGBT communities. Although this year’s beneficiaries have yet to be named by press time, O’Porras is pushing for local agencies. "I can assure they’ll be focused in Dallas if not Texas," he says.


They will also honor one local notable with two awards.

"The Hero award by Noble and the Inspire award by my company will go to Lupe Valdez. We wanted to honor her contribution to the community. She’s tackled a lot but kept her head high taking pride in what she’s done," O’Porras says.

But the contest is about the gentlemen and each is going to have to bring his A-game. Wading through three days of judge interviews, public meet-and-greets and athletic competitions, they finish with swimwear and formalwear competitions. And, of course, there’s the dreaded onstage interview. But O’Porras’ job is to keep the men at ease.

"They need to be real and honest and not say anything that would offend you or others personally," he advises. "U.S. Mr. Gay isn’t a political stance. In the end, we hope people will see the winner as the guy next door representing every regular guy they know and someone who can be respected." •



Edna Jean works it for Christmas — again

It’s not just men in Speedos who will be working it for charity this week. Edna Jean Robinson returns to JR.’s with her 11th

annual Trailer Park Christmas, a benefit for the Sam Houston School Christmas Pageant. Edna and many of her trailer park neighbors will be providing entertainment as only they can.

JR.’s Bar & Grill, 3923 Cedar Springs Road. Dec. 1. 11 p.m. Caven.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 27, 2009.

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