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Meet: Mr Urge NZ Bear 2014 Gary Edwards

Mon 17 Feb 2014 In: Hall of Fame View at Wayback View at NDHA

Pictures by Andrea The foxy new Mr Urge NZ Bear Gary Edwards tells us what the bear community means to him and why he’d like to have a coffee with Putin, among other answers to our quick-fire questions. What does the title mean to you? It makes me feel very proud to be selected to represent the bears of New Zealand. I think it is important to present different faces of our community to anyone growing up gay or questioning so they have someone that they might identify with. What are your highlights of the night? The other competitors, Shaun, Ron, and Mark are all great guys and we had a lot of fun getting ready for each of the rounds on Friday night. Grant, Paul, and Will also took good care of us. I definitely had some nerves about the fantasy section but it went to plan. Where were you born, and where did you grow up? I was born in Wellington and grew up in Wainuiomata. I moved into the city in my late teens and then to Auckland in 1999 after a short 2 year stay in Reefton. Where do you live now and what do you think of it? I live right in the city (Freemans Bay) and love it, everything is so handy. Tell us about your career? I work in a large shared service organisation providing IT support to the northern region district health boards. My team are one of the technical support teams and they're a great bunch of people to work with. When did you come out, and how did it go? I came out late in my 20s, I personally found it difficult because there were no gay role models for me growing up that I felt I could identify with. Things have changed a lot in the last few decades. Do you have a partner? What kind of guys do you admire? I'm married to Marcello (of Marcello's Caffe), we've been together for 13 years. We had a civil union in 2008 and upgraded (to marriage) in 2013. I admire guys with confidence and those that live life to the fullest and fit in some fun. What does the bear community mean to you? The bear community is an inclusive community to me, we're all ages, sizes and shapes, and we sport varying volumes of bodyhair. This makes us a diverse group and the common thing I see time and again is the friendliness and camaraderie amongst everyone. What do you think are the biggest issues currently facing NZ's gay population? These days, in New Zealand anyway, the issues we face are more and more the issues facing all Kiwis, things like healthcare, aging, and retirement. The world could learn a lot from us, there are still too many places in the world where it's not even safe to identify as LGBT. Who in the world (including NZ) would you most like to have a coffee and a chat with and why? Putin needs a good talking to, it's hard to believe the regressive approach Russia is taking currently toward its LGBT citizens when NZ is comparatively progressive. If you could have one wish granted what would it be? I would wish for a safe world for all our LGBT family      Jacqui Stanford - 17th February 2014

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Monday, 17th February 2014 - 9:06am

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