Mr. Gay South Africa finalist Charlie Jacobs has explained why he has chosen OUT, the Pretoria-based Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) health and well-being NGO, as the charity he’ll be supporting during the competition.
The thirty-year-old Jacobs, a sales and event decor executive and post-graduate social psychology student from Randburg, said that he selected OUT because the organisation’s work is very close to his heart.
OUT provides numerous health and well-being services to the LGBT community, including counselling, support groups, HIV testing and general medical services as well as the provision of ARVs and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).
“Being diagnosed with HIV nearly a decade ago, I had to learn how to overcome all the obstacles one faces with such a stigmatising disease,” said Jacobs.
“OUT falls right into what I would love to achieve as an individual as well as being able to reach out to those that have and will still walk the same journey as myself living with HIV. When I did my research on charities I was excited to see that there were already people, such as OUT, achieving this goal.”
Jacobs, who names HIV positive Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron as his personal role model, added: “I strive to be an encouraging role model for society, for living life to its full potential, regardless of your status and sexual orientation.”
Jacobs has recently been sponsored by New Insights Africa to complete a life coaching course that will enable him to specialise in coaching people living with HIV.
OUT Director Dawie Nel welcomed Jacobs’ choice of OUT as his charity.
“While we call ourselves a community, few LGBT people actively support community groups such as OUT,” said Nel.
“We welcome Charlie’s recognition of our efforts and look forward to working with him to highlight the health and well-being needs of LGBT people in South Africa.”
Jacobs is one of 14 national finalists competing for the coveted title of Mr. Gay South Africa 2011. The winner, who is decided by judges’ scores as well as public voting, will be announced at the ‘Grand Finale’ ceremony on Saturday 26 November at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City, Johannesburg. Tickets are available via Computicket.
To vote for Charlie Jacobs for Mr. Gay South Africa 2011, SMS “GSA 7” to 34008. (Each SMS costs R2, with a maximum of 100 SMS per phone number allowed per day.)