For the second time, the Derby House Hotel, Kildare Town played host to the Mr and Miss Gay Kildare on Saturday, 8 September. And for the second time, Cris Pender and Mary Gibney were crowned the winners.
However, according to Cris, the Mr Gay Kildare competition will be re-held at a later date. “I was crowned by default,” he told the Leinster Leader. “Two of the male contestants didn’t show up on the night.”
The event was organised by Sunrise LGBT Kildare, of which Cris, originally from Dublin but living in Newbridge, is chairperson and founder. He was originally supposed to be a host at the event but due to withdrawals, found himself as the only contestant.
Despite this, he was still upbeat about how the night went, a night when Kildare Town’s Mary Gibney defended her title. She will now compete in the Miss Gay Ireland competition in November and she says she is “really looking forward to it”.
Last year she found herself in Cris’ position of being crowned without having any competitors. So this year was extra special even though she hadn’t planned to take part.
“When it was announced, it was just an awesome feeling.” Mary said she had hoped that the other finalist, Shauna, would win so she would have the chance to experience the final as she herself did last year. However, winning the title still felt “fantastic”. “It felt more real because I wasn’t the only one (in the competition).”
Mary does not plan to enter the contest next year. She would like to see new faces taking part instead. “Kildare has quite a large community. Hopefully this will encourage more to come forward and take part.”
So what does it take to be crowned Mr or Miss Gay Kildare? Cris explained exactly what the judges were looking for in the contestants. “They’re looking for knowledge of LGBT issues; what the person can do in their area for LGBT; and stage presence and personality because they are going to be representing the county.”
While Cris was happy overall about the event, he said he was “extremely disappointed” with the amount of money the night raised for the New Fill HIV clinic at St James Hospital. The event raised E130.
“We probably had it at the wrong time. The Limerick Pride was on on the same day and there were a lot of people who couldn’t come.”
Cris said they will definitely hold the event again but will look at changing the date and the venue too, so that it might be more open to people from other parts of the county.
To keep up with the latest LGBT news and events in Kildare, visit Sunrise LGBT Kildare’s Facebook page at facebook.com/sunrise.lgbt.kildare
- Liam Godinho