The positive reactions and nice friendships that come out of it are very nice. The title makes it possible to draw attention to various issues from HIV stigma to Checnhya / Rainbow Railroad.
Because of the European title you can also bring this to the attention. As Mr Leather Europe, I want to support smaller organisations in particular to help them develop further.
Jacques: One of the things that you introduced to The Web Bar last year was Eurovision Song Contest with the Misters and that struck. How did you get the idea and do you want to achieve something with it? What can you tell me about that?
Raymond: I have always been a fan of Eurovision and I wanted to do something that was social and with which we could support a good cause and also wear leather or other fetish clothing. When I mentioned the idea to some friends, everyone was so enthusiastic that I decided to arrange it. The reactions during and after the evening were very positive and we had collected a lot of money. Hopefully this year is another success.
Jacques: Next month is the IML (International Mister Leather) from May 24 to 28 in Chicago, where you want to go for the title Mister Leather International after your Dutch and European title. How do you look at that?
Raymond: It was never the intention to go from title to title, but now that I have the European title I can not let it go. I think it is especially important that we show in the USA that Europe has a lot to offer and, above all, that we do it differently. We go to Chicago with a group of 12 European men, this is a record number. In particular, it will be a special experience and with the large number of participants it will not be easy to win the title, but if I participate in something I will go for the win. So I am doing my best to make Amsterdam and Europe proud.
Jacques: I am also curious how you look at the participation of your friend Reto (who coincidentally also bears the title Mister Leather Switzerland 2017)
Raymond: I really like that I can share this experience with Reto. We are also competitors, but we both do not see eachother that way, we support each other completely.
We also make a holiday together so it is very beautiful and special to share this with the man I love. We are different but also think the same about many things,
Reto has done a lot for the Swiss community so he is definitely a serious contender.
Jacques: It goes without saying that I and our Web friends wish Raymond and Reto a lot of success in Chicago and of course we will keep you informed.