Last night was supposed to be a regular evening for Gabriel Martino (aka Syfr Gavriel). He and some friends went to Woody’s Latin Night, where GALAEI and PhillyGayCalendar just so happened to be hosting the first-ever Mr. SEXO contest. Martino’s friends talked him into competing and a few hours later he walked away with the title. ”I’m still in some shock about last night,” he wrote on his Facebook wall, explaining to friends that he was chosen out of a crop of 10 contestants.
The contest was seeking a man who could represent GALAEI‘s sex-positive message, and Executive Director Elicia Gonzales says Martino hit the nail on the head. “I think the crowd chose him as winner, because he is hot, outgoing, fun, confident and not cocky,” she says.
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If you can believe it, Latin Night at Woody’s this evening is going to be a little sexier than usual, when GALAEI and PhillyGayCalendar team up to present the first annual Mr. SEXO competition. The pageant, GALAEI Executive Director — and our 2013 Hero honoree — Elicia Gonzales says, doubles “as a way to do a winter event comparable to Boys of Summer” and continue promoting SEXO, a 1992 sex-positive campaign that GALAEI revamped in April.
Men are asked to sign up for the event on-site, so Gonzales doesn’t know how many will participate. “I feel like we’ll have a good number, because there are a lot of guys in the community who like to show off their bodies and who are kind of hams anyway,” she laughs. But those who sign up shouldn’t rest on their muscles alone. “It’s a hot-body contest plus the [Q&A] round of Miss America.” She is hoping for a man who can embody what GALAEI represents, which, in a nutshell, is that everybody — gay, lesbian, trans, HIV-positive — deserves to have a healthy sex life.
HERO: GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales
As the matriatch of the only organization for Philly (and all of Pennsylvania)’s gay and lesbian Latino community, GALAEI’s executive director has worked this year to spearhead a host of educational campaigns that offer a unique, often provocative perspective on vital sexual issues, while also shining a light on a demographic that’s often overlooked. This year, she revived the 1992 campaign “SEXO,” an exhibit that promoted safe-sex via lusty images of men grabbing their junk with rubber gloves; she kicked of Philly’s first “Masturbate-a-Thon,” encouraging self-pleasure over risky sexual encounters; and an inspiring collection of personal stories in “Positivo” showed Philly’s poz Latino community that it’s okay to embrace your HIV status. She’s the sex-ed teacher we all wish we had (and should have had) in high school. GALAEI, 1207 Chestnut St., 215-851-1822, galaei.org.