Robbie Obara a 26 year-old Canadian medical student, representing Ireland, has won the 2013 Mr. Gay Europe competition.
Entering its eighth year, this event is a male beauty pageant for gay Europeans. Obara beat 16 other men to win the title. He also placed first in the interview portion of the event, as well as the talent category. His talent wasn't the usual singing, dancing or even poetry reading. Obara chose to demonstrate a testicular self-examination, which he performed on-stage.
Because of his passion for preventive health, Obara saw this as an opportunity to educate the need for men, gay and straight, to do routine self-exams.
Now that he is the newly crowned Mr. Gay Europe, Obara hopes to use his platform to educate more about gay men's health. In particular STDs, mental health and social health.
Why social health? Obara says, "I see gay men's social health as very important, not being isolated. We are all social beings and we don't thrive when isolated or excluded. The fact that people are being killed or killing themselves because they are gay makes me very sad and very angry."
He also added, "On the one side I see the Mr. Gay Europe title is a bit frivolous or superficial maybe. But it's a contest that attracts a lot of interest in the gay community and so reaches a lot of people. I'm lucky to have the opportunity to be a positive role model."
For now he is spending the summer interning at a hospital in Halifax, Canada. In October he returns to Dublin to continue his training at Trinity College, and to fulfill his duties as Mr. Gay Europe.