He took the first step at the age of 13 to attend queer youth group and today, now a 20-year-old, Logan Cotter supports many other New Zealand youth and wants to take that nurturing with him as he attempts to become Mr. Gay New Zealand 2017.
Speaking with eikon less than a week out from the finals, Logan is grateful that just by being a part of this competition has allowed him to shine a spotlight on the issues I hold closest to his heart.
“It is an opportunity to show the rest of the world that diversity is a good thing and that our community is nothing to be afraid of but something to be embraced,” Logan explained to eikon.
“I am a firm believer in the notion that the only cure for hate is education.
“The support and nurturing of New Zealand’s LGBTQI+ youth support services and the education and support of the youth themselves.”
At such a young age, Logan is already aiming high, recently running for local council to show people in his small country town that their perception of younger people should change.
“While I did not achieve my goal of being elected to a council position, I still believe that the shift was started.
“I believe that it is time to do that in the queer community as well.
“My work within the community has been strictly voluntary and I am currently a youth mentor for Waikato Queer Youth and have been for the last 3 years.
“My time with this beautiful organization, both as a member and a mentor, has helped me connect with a diverse range of people from all walks of life and I believe I have an ability now to build a rapport with almost everybody I meet.”
Logan is also a community champion against domestic violence for the “It’s not ok” campaign, he sits on his local community house board of trustees and is the youth action representative for the Huntly community board, which allows him to put forward youth initiatives to the local district council.
With all this experience and understanding of local issues believes the key ones affecting the gay community in New Zealand are also doing so across the world.
“I believe the biggest issues facing our community around the world as well as at home are inadequate mental health services, stigmatization of people living with HIV, the lack of education around substance abuse in the queer community and of course, the inequality we still face around the world every day.”
The final of Mr. Gay New Zealand 2017 will be held at the Ending HIV Big Gay Out on Sunday 12 February. You can still vote for your favourite finalist here.