Mr. Gay World 2009, Max Krzyzanowski

Dubliner Max Krzyzanowski (37) has been crowned Mr. Gay World 2009 at the first ever Mr. Gay World contest, in Whistler, Canada. Max, who won the Mr. Gay Ireland title in Dublin in October, beat 19 contestants from around the globe to take the coveted role.

Olympic Gold Medallist Mark Tewksbury hosted this year’s pageant in a glitzy ceremony high in the Canadian mountains.

After a busy weeklong schedule that included fashion shows, photo shoots, interviews and even a wilderness survival course; Mr. Gay World President Eric Butter named Krzyzanowski the winner.

Krzyzanowski, who works as a security guard and martial arts coach in Dublin, is described as “a classic Irish lad, a self made man, very comfortable in his own skin, that anyone would love to have as a best mate, life partner, son, brother or as a father.”

“Mr. Gay World is an extraordinary opportunity to bring together the entire gay community across the world. It is easy to forget that being gay is still punishable by death in many countries. This is a unique opportunity for me to create awareness of gay issues on a worldwide scale”, said Krzyzanowski.

Krzyzanowski, of polish descent, was the oldest contestant in this year’s competition, which took place in Whistler, Vancouver – host of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The winner out of a total of 1500 contestants worldwide, Max said that he was “elated, shocked but proud to represent gay Ireland on such a stage”.

Two contestants from South African were originally set to participate in the event; Andrew Venter (Mr. Kwazulu Natal) and Christian de Jager (Mr Gay SA 2007). Jager, however pulled out of the contest, as he was upset that he was not the sole official representative from South Africa.

The organisers however said that the rules allow for regional representatives who have won a competition to be included in the event provided that they have won a regional competition – especially in cases where a full delegate quota from a particular continent has not been met – as was the case with Africa.

Ironically, Venter was unable to raise sufficient funds and also did not attend the pageant. At the last minute, Deon Strydom, who won Mr Gay International SA 2008 (a different event from Mr Gay SA) was selected to participate in the event. He made it into the top ten.

“Deon’s qualities and confidence as a gay South African were apparent from the moment he accepted our invitation,” said Brian Merriman, Mr Gay World’s Director for Africa.

“His successful participation and getting to the ‘top ten’ in a quality field, has ensured that RSA will continue to be represented in this global event, to build co-operation and understanding of our place within our own community and within the world.”

Mr. Gay Paraguay was 1st runner-up for the competition, Mexico 2nd, Australia 3rd and New Zealand 4th.

As Mr. Gay World, Krzyzanowski will travel the globe in 2009 as a goodwill ambassador for the gay community to promote gay rights and equality – especially among LGBT communities that still endure oppression, violence and all forms of homophobia.

Oslo, Norway, was announced as the host city for next year’s Mr. Gay World.

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