However, looking for completely irrelevant things, I came across Mr Gay Europe website and did not regret it. WOW, there was a participant from Azerbaijan in the Mr Gay Europe 2007 contest which took place in August in Budapest. He did not win any prize, but the only fact of participation is worth mentioning in this case. It is not Western Europe for you, it's South Caucasus country (predominantly Muslim) we are talking about, where homophobia is very high.
"I am proud to be able to represent Azerbaijan in the Mr. Gay Europe competition," says Sadikh Ragimov, 19, from Baku.
Occupation: Student - School of business administration/New Port International University Film Directory/Plato Movie School
Hobbies: Cinema, Comics, Cooking, Drawing/Painting, GLBT activist, Music, Photography, Reading/Writing, Traveling.
*source of picture and self-info on Sadikh Ragimov - Mr Gay Europe website
I looked at the history of this relatively new contest (was hosted for the first time in 2005) and got confirmation that he was the first delegate not only from Azerbaijan but also from South Caucasus to participate in the Mr Gay Europe contest. Believe me, for whatever reason he decided to participate, it was pretty big thing to do. Well done, Sadikh!
For all those who doubt that participation in the Mr Gay contests could be dangerous for life, here is example from EU member Poland related to Mr Gay Europe 2007 Polish contestant (based on news provided by the Mr Gay Europe):
"Even if only 21 proud men was on stage, the presenter referred to 22 men; the Polish Delegate was just before leaving for Budapest attacked and beaten severely in Warsaw, and was not able to take part in the finals. The Polish Delegate was however on the minds of the other 21 and was therefore mentioned as one of the group." I just hope that with the newly elected government things will change for better in Poland.
Anyway, for all those interested, Mr Gay Europe 2008 will take place again in Budapest, July 2-6.