After being brought up in an extremely religious family and bullied by country town locals for being gay, Jackson Taylor has now set his sights on using his experiences to help others and win the Mr Gay New Zealand contest.
The 28-year old who now lives in Auckland only came out as gay three years ago.
Born in Toronto Canada, he moved to New Zealand when he was nine and went to drama school in Wellington where he achieved his acting degree, but it was the underlying notion that he was gay which was pushing him to greater heights.
“Growing up in a small town of Taupo (in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island) with a very manly community was very hard, being bullied and teased for being a performing artist and being called every gay slur you can imagine only made me want to go even deeper in the closet,” Taylor explained exclusively to eikon.
“This was not my only struggle, I also had a very religious extended family, aunties, uncles and cousins that were brought up in the Jehovah Witness organization made it even more difficult for me to accept who I was.
“So after many years of finding myself, trying to be straight and be what society tells me I should be I finally accepted who I was and since then for the past four years almost since I came out I have been the happiest I have ever been.”
Travelling with his acting work across Australia, USA and England, Taylor has settled back in Auckland with a job in travel and a firm belief that he can make a difference by winning the Mr Gay New Zealand title.
“The main reason I chose to enter Mr Gay NZ was not only because I am so extremely proud of our amazing country and how ahead of the game it is in regards to equality in the world but I wanted to represent NZ on a whole and show just how damn awesome and chilled we are as a community,” Taylor said.
“I want to get out there and bring awareness to as many different things as I can, educate youth in regards to anti-bullying and growing up in a diverse culture; also bringing awareness to such things as HIV and safe sex.
“I am extremely proud to be a gay man and in 2016 I think this world is coming together pretty well in the equality sense, but it still has a long ways to go so if I can get out there and be another positive figure to help spread the word of love which is all that we want then I think that is what is important.”
The self-proclaimed ‘social bug’ looks set to be a big hit with the community at the LYC Big Gay Out next Sunday and is really looking forward to the competition being a part of such a great event.
“It is a competition but I just want to get out there now, doesn’t matter if I win or loose and do as much as I can for this community as this community has done so much for me, I just want to finally be able to give back and that excites me so much.”
Public voting for the people’s choice portion of the competition will begin this coming Monday with the winner announced at the LYC Big Gay Out on Sunday 14 February in Auckland.
The winner will head to Malta in April for the Mr Gay World Finals.
For more information visit www.mrgaynewzealand.com