1. ITV Report

South Shields dance teacher in Mr Gay Europe competition

Stuart Hatton Photo: Adam Davies

Stuart Hatton is a dance teacher from South Shields. He won the Mr Gay UK title and with it huge support from LGBT groups. Stuart has spent his time as Mr Gay UK campaigning for equality and promoting Pride events. But now it's time to turn the heat up a little bit. Stuart is on his way to Austria to compete in Mr Gay Europe. The competition begins in Austria and finishes in Switzerland. To win, Stuart will take part in rounds including art, talent and swimwear!

Stuart says that Mr Gay Europe is an 'international platform for Europe to hear about the struggles and prejudices faced by the Gay community in the 21st Century.'

WHY IS THIS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MR GAY UK?

I am proud to be Mr Gay UK but the idea of competing for your country is a privilege that only a handful of people ever get the chance to do. To represent The UK at an international level is something that as a lad from South Shields I never thought would happen to me.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WON?

If I won I would hopefully be able to carry my voice on the subjects of LGBT rights to a greater audience outside of The UK and further into Europe. And then if I am successful it will be onto Mr Gay World which would be mint.

WHY DO YOU FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS COMPETITION?

I have been working towards this since winning Mr Gay UK in December last year and being a gay man, in a world where you are seen in some circles as a second class citizen, it will be nice to have the platform to voice my opinions on gay rights on an international level. I just hope the Europeans understand my Geordie accent.

HOW WILL THE REGION BENEFIT?

Since winning Mr Gay UK I have been surprised at the positive response by everyone in the North East, if I am successful in Mr Gay Europe I am hoping to put South Shields on the international LGBT Map and make my region proud. I am also taking a Geordie dictionary with me to the competition so that I can introduce the other delegates to the wonders of the Geordie language.

HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR MR GAY UK REIGN HAS GONE?

I have had a blast. I have been on the cover of magazines, been on the TV, radio and had lots of opportunities to speak on behalf of the UK LGBT Community on a greater level than I have ever had before. I hope I am doing my country proud.