The activist wants to use the win to promote same-sex adoption and fostering.
The Mr. Gay Europe competition concluded at Stockholm Pride over the weekend and England’s Matt Rood took home the top prize.
The 37-year-old personal trainer and dog walker came in fourth place in the online vote, but was crowned the winner of this year’s pageant after getting the combined high score in all categories, including the social media challenge, preliminary interview and sports challenge.
Mr. Gay England faced stiff competition this year with a sea of sexy gay activists vying for the crown, including the second-place finisher from Ireland, Stephen Lehane.
As a former foster care parent, Rood campaigned on a platform of promoting equality in adoption and fostering services, hoping to “encourage a positive attitude globally.”
Pageant president Tore Aasheim said in a statement that Rood was one of the most dedicated gay activists he’s ever worked with in the competition, according to Attitude.
“With his big heart, his kind attitude, but also strong devotion, and with a project that shows that he really put his money where his mouth is, Matt both showed us his commitment and the fact that you don’t need to be a twink to win Mr. Gay Europe,” Aasheim said.
Rood will hold the title until next year’s competition, which will take place in Poland from August 4-12.