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Mr Gay NZ 'host' ad a "misunderstanding"

Thu 27 Mar 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Troy Williams Lateshift's owner says an ad promoting an upcoming sex party as being ‘hosted’ by Mr Gay New Zealand Troy Williams came about due to a misunderstanding and has now been removed. Williams is a part-time staff member at the Auckland gay sex-on-site venue, which is holding a ‘Muscle Only Monday Afternoon Sex Party’ on Easter Monday, where ‘muscle guys’ can hook up with other muscle guys. Lateshift owner Jay Bennie says he had “a very quick discussion” with Williams about being involved. “Basically to run the event behind the counter, help promote safe sex and get to know another segment of our community,” he says. “I think in my mind running it meant ‘hosting it’, in his it meant something a little different and I wasn’t quite as clear as I should have been.” Bennie says he can understand that Williams, his partner, and others were concerned when he was “showcased” in ads for the event. “We’ve withdrawn that material immediately and I am pleased that Troy is continuing with his involvement. I think that it’s important Mr Gay NZ is seen to be part of the community in all aspects of our community. Sex is part of sexuality, which is part of homosexuality.” Bennie says he understands Williams is approaching at least one gay advocacy and support organisation, and may approach others. “I’m quite sure he’ll be involved in a number of aspects of our community as his period as Mr Gay New Zealand continues, and I salute him for that.” Bennie says the ‘Muscle Only’ afternoon is a fetish event at Lateshift, which also holds everything from fisting to arse-play and anonymous hood nights. “I think there are very few gay men would say that an attractive body doesn’t turn them on in some way – and everybody’s definition of what is attractive is different. But you only have to look through things like dating sites to see the number of gay guys who strip to the waist in their photos … because they know that’s what will get them a second glance from gay men,” he says. “It is a fetish. It always has been - right back to the stereotype of the old queens in England in the 1920s with carved Italianate statues of Adonis’ adorning their living rooms and things. It says something. It’s quite primal with us. As a sexual fetish it’s a common one, to a greater or smaller degree in various people. “People are concerned that we are being elitist, that we are being discriminatory. Well it is a private event and I guess it is discriminating in a way, but it’s not illegal discrimination. Physique is not included in the human rights legislation.” Bennie cites elite athletes as people who have opportunities offered to them which others don’t, and says he thinks someone who has worked hard on their appearance and their physique is in much the same category. “If you excel in something you will get support and doors will open for you that will not open for other people. You will get encouragement. And this in a way fits similarly into that category. “So I don’t have any trouble with it being ‘elitist’ or ‘discriminatory’. Anybody can come into Lateshift at any time, this is just creating a particular environment once or maybe twice a year for a particular activity to take place. “Nobody has complained to us about any of the other fetish events which are pretty clearly related to other areas of sexual expression.” When it comes to ongoing criticism of the Mr Gay New Zealand and Mr Gay World competitions, Bennie believes we have to accept that we react positively to an attractive, interesting person. “Clearly we want somebody who is attractive, who is physically good, who has an interesting character and personality, who is informed and intelligent. I think the way that the Mr Gay New Zealand competition has evolved shows we have hit the jackpot with that every time,” he says. “It is something that looks for the best in all aspects of being gay. I think we have to accept that gay men are very visual in the way we react to people, in the way that many people are, I mean you don’t see many unattractive people on the cover of women’s magazines or in underwear advertising or anything like that. “It’s part of being a gay community that we have a competition like this and that we choose people to represent us who are somewhat idealised, but good on them for that. And if they can do a lot of good things with that position, being on that pedestal, then I salute them. They’re braver than I am.” Disclaimer: Jay Bennie is a co-owner of GayNZ.com, however he had no input in the decision to run this story, and commented when approached by a GayNZ.com Daily News journalist.    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 27th March 2014 - 3:09pm

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