Mr. Hetero post-mortem

posted by Mike on February 19th, 2006

The “Mr. Heterosexual” contest was pretty much of a washout. I feel bad for the organizers.

In an article in the Telegram & Gazette, Milton Valencia wrote that “An estimated 175 to 200 people attended the event.” According to Worcester Magazine, the hall seats 1500. The street outside was closed off and full of police; earlier in the week, it was estimated that the organizers might have to pay $6500 for police protection alone.

Mr. Valencia described the event as “more like a church service than a pageant.” I didn’t think it was like a church service; I thought it was exactly like at scout camp when the adult leaders get up at campfire and do a skit, awkward and half-assed. Nothing wrong with that, but they don’t charge $12 for it and hold it at Mechanics Hall.

I strongly suspect I would have had a better time standing out in the cold with the demonstrators.

There were very few references to human sexuality in “Mr. Hetero”–the “War on Christmas” was referenced more times than sex. There was a bit of preaching before the intermission, but this felt tacked on, and organizer Tom Crouse never did go into his theory or opinions of homosexuality in any detail.

There was no opportunity for me to enter the contest; seven men had been selected to compete in advance. The winner’s name wasn’t mentioned in the newspaper or TV coverage I saw, and it was not clear if the planned $100 prize was awarded. The guy did get a trophy. (Update: The Boston Weekly Dig gave Jimmy Ottino his due.)

The only part that didn’t disappoint was the “man who has renounced his own homosexuality.” I had hoped for some bizarreness here, and I got it. Turns out the guy felt ambivalent about women at age 14, decided he was gay and had sex with two guys at age 15, and at age 16 had a conversion experience and started liking girls. It’s possible that this man was delivered from homosexuality, but the simple and obvious explanation is that the guy was never gay to begin with, just confused for part of his teen years like so many other men.

Lots more detail in my Indymedia article.


Postscript

The Boston Weekly Dig reporter did a great job. His article was the only first one to mention winnner Jimmy Ottino’s name.

Kevin Ksen got the first quote in the Telegram & Gazette article, and I got the last:

“I didn’t know gay protestors were so scary,” said Kevin Ksen, a community activist, while pointing out the number of police officers patrolling the crowd.

[…]

Mike Benedetti, who opposed the nature of the event but was willing to spend the $12 to see what the hype was about, said he expected more, in protesters and in the event. It was a sizeable crowd in Mechanics Hall, but the show was more of a churchlike event than the ridiculous contest he expected.

“When the circus is in town, you go to the circus, and this is the circus,” he said.

“This is the circus”? Only in my dreams.

I loved this quote from Kevin Ksen’s description of the protests outside:

Equal in size to the police contingent was the media crew which worked the crowd for interviews and shots of kissing queers. I watched one eager TV camerman work for position to catch Worcester’s radical cheerleaders, only to emerge from the circle of onlookers mid-way muttering, “I can’t use that, they’re swearing.”

Demonstrators outside Mr. Hetero event, photo by Kevin Ksen from Indymedia
Demonstrators outside “Mr. Hetero.” Photo: Worcester Independent Media Center (Kevin Ksen).

In his post-event commentary, Tom Crouse of Engaging Your World Productions writes:

And by the way if you are the Mayor of Worcester and you signed the protest list without ever contacting me or anyone involved in the event, I will be in touch!

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