Gay men get spotlight in #IAmPoGay

 
 
The new "It's Showtime" segment for gay men was an instant hit among the studio audience and netizens who were tuned in to the noontime program on Saturday, January 18, when the contest was launched with two hopefuls taking the stage.
 
Joining as the first candidates of "I Am Pogay," billed as a contest for "handsome gay men," were 29-year-old Erimar Ortigas and 23-year-old Dennishon Bryan Reyes-Javier.
 
 
Ortigas, a communications manager for a business process outsourcing company, represented the Philippines in the Mr. Gay World 2013 pageant.
 
Prior to his stint in Mister Gay Philippines, Ortigas was already an active participant in several LGBT organizations and charity projects based here and overseas.  He is also a spokesperson for HIV/AIDS awareness and for the organization Love Yourself, his chosen charity for the People's Choice Online Competition of Mister Gay World.  
 
Ortigas' involvement in LGBT groups, as well as his communication skills, were pointed to as the reason for his selection as the Philippines' candidate to the international pageant. He was chosen by Mister Gay World Regional Director for Asia, Noemi B. Alberto, and Winnstruck Productions President Mac Bordallo.

Javier shocked the hosts and audience alike as he revealed to his parents his sexual orientation for the first time.
 
 
The contestant took the opportunity to give a message to his parents, who are based in Dubai, to tell them that he is gay.
 
"Honestly, hindi po alam ng mga magulang ko kung sino po at kung ano po ako. So pinagkatiwalaan ko po ang 'Showtime' para ilabas ko po ang tunay na ako."

Javier said it was not the fear of rejection that prevented him from coming out earlier. Being the breadwinner, Javier said he just didn't have the time to properly sit down and talk with his family.
 
"Hindi naman natatakot. Minsan naman po kasi ang pagiging bakla puwede kasi natin ilagay sa lugar. Puwede po nating itago at ilabas sa tamang panahon. Nagtrabaho po kasi ako sa ibang bansa when I was 17 years old. Ako na po 'yung isa sa mga breadwinner sa family ko so wala po kami naging masyadong time para sa isa't isa para malaman nila kung ano 'yung nasa loob ko."

Javier and Ortigas were voted "confirmed" by the judges, which resulted in a tie. Both of them took home P20,000 as the first ever "I Am Pogay" winners.
 
 
At one point, "#IAmPogay" topped the worldwide trends on Twitter, with "POGAY" and "Liz Uy" ranking fifth and seventh in the same list, respectively.
 
"I Am Pogay" is the second LGBT-themed segment of "It's Showtime" after the highly successful "That's My Tomboy." Launched in October last year with its grand finals nearing, the talent showcase for lesbians who look masculine also includes a question-and-answer portion.

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