Proud and beauty: Italy at Mr Gay World 2014

1654397_348180502007172_6350478273052217653_nPubblichiamo il pezzo di Davide di Poce, sulla candidatura di Nicola La Triglia a Mr Gay World 2014

“We are hairy, we are old and muscular. We are young, we are skinny and proud.” “Beauty is authenticity” is the slogan of the Italian candidate for the ‘Mr. Gay World 2014’ pageant, which will be held in Rome from the 25th of August to the 31st. Better known as Nicola La Triglia, a doctoral student at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. Beautiful and ugly at the same time, definitely charming and charismatic, Nicola could be a friend, a florist, or even a university classmate. With him, reality shatters into the glossy world of beauty pageants, the walkways that demand perfection in humanity and inhumanity, authenticity in photoshopped images: “With our lean/fat bellies, with or without muscles, we are ourselves – authenticity is beauty. Only our real & authentic bodies are free – says Nicola – Many suffer because they do not accept their real selves, because by looking in the mirror they realize that they do not meet the strict stereotypical standards imposed by society. Consequently, many people get sick; they begin to suffer from eating disorders.

“Stereotypes do not make us appreciate the beauty that we have.” Says Nicola – all whilst receiving various complaints regarding his nomination. His candidacy has been criticized by those who were expecting the traditional drop-dead gorgeous and unattainable contestant. Some have also questioned the decision to include such a controversy in such context. “But why can’t a beauty contest be used as an instrument of action, given the great influence it has on people?” “It is here that you create certain beauty trends and if they produce concrete results, why not revolutionize the concept of beauty?” – Asks Nicola, who continues – “Why differentiate Mr. Gay World from Mr. World? I think the difference is in the political message that Mr. Gay World could and should convey.” In fact, a large percentage of the population can relate to Nicola’s points (especially in the gay community) – which are essentially about self-acceptance.

Not only do individuals need to accept themselves as homosexuals, but also as human beings, each with their own imperfections, which are for Nicola, “signs of authentic beauty.” This is the “double coming” out which most LGBTQI members are forced to go through: “Our LGBTQI community began as a movement of liberation, liberation from every stereotype to finally be ourselves.” Emphasizes Nicola, referring back to what Italian activist Mario Mieli wrote in 1977 in his famous book ‘Elementi di critica omosessuale’ roughly translated to ‘Elements of Homosexual Criticism’. Mario Mieli once said “We have the vital task of reinterpreting everything from our point of view… including aesthetics”. We have to reinvent the concept beauty by looking at mirror and starting with ourselves. His participation in such a contest is a mini-revolution itself, a sign of change – or rather, liberation. “We are hairy, muscled and we are old, we are young, we are skinny and proud.”