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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 20, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 16
New Mr. Gay Washington crowned
Arts & Entertainment
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New Mr. Gay Washington crowned

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

On Saturday, April 14, Julian Gaspay of Seattle was crowned Mr. Gay Washington 2012-13. The new Mr. Gay Washington has already begun putting his plans for community involvement into action.

To win the pageant, Gaspay took part in a formal wear presentation, a 'white look' for which he wore white peacock plumage, a Q&A session, and a performance where he sang Jennifer Hudson's 'And I am Telling You I'm Not Going.'

For his Q&A, Gaspay was asked which one of his community proposals he would pursue if he could only choose one, and why. He chose his motivational and awareness speaking tour, where he wants to focus on high schools and collegiate clubs. He's already booked three high schools, including his own, Thomas Jefferson High School, in Auburn, where he graduated in 2008.

As his talking points, Gaspay wants to address bullying, Gay culture and identity, HIV, and safe sex as well as Transgender topics.

'I want it to be pro-educational so they know the importance of furthering their education in order to accomplish their hopes and dreams,' Gaspay told SGN.

Gaspay will be reigning alone, meaning only a Mr. Gay Washington will be representing the court this year - which hasn't happened since 1979-80.

'The good thing is you have the spotlight on you,' Gaspay told SGN. 'The bad thing is you have the spotlight on you.'

Despite his modesty, Gaspay has been involved in the community for years already, even before he could get into bars and compete for titles - of which he's won several.

A longtime volunteer for Empowerment Seattle and co-producer of the 2010 You'll Never Walk Alone fundraiser for the Youth Suicide Prevention Program (YSPP), Gaspay has been named Washington State Bachelor of the Year 2011, Mr. Rainbow PRIDE 2011, and Mr. Neighbours 2010-11.

With a background in fashion design and event planning, Gaspay told SGN how his own coming-out process helped lead him to speaking to young people.

'When I came out, it became a standard 'Oh. You're Gay, so you should be in fashion or you should do hair.' It was a process to accept what I wanted, what I truly desired, and not listen to what everyone else's input was,' said Gaspay.

He sees coming out while still trying to find one's purpose in life as potentially very difficult.

'It requires a lot of strength and courage to tune everyone out & but the coming-out process really makes it different. There's a want, a need, to have everyone accept and understand us,' Gaspay told SGN.

In addition to representing the court at various functions, Gaspay wants to continue fundraising for YSPP as well as further 'unity and equality for the community' by bridging the gap between the court and organizations it hasn't traditionally had heavy involvement with, such as the many Seattle-based Gay sports teams.

His most ambitious project, which is still largely under wraps, is tentatively titled 'The Gay Male Mystique,' a project to bring awareness to the different types of lives that Gay men live. Gaspay is also planning a screening of the film Bully, set for May 5.

'I'm just really honored to be given an opportunity to make a difference,' said Gaspay.

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