An exclusive interview with Matthew Simmons, who was crowned as title holder of the Mr Gay World USA competition on Saturday, June 22, 2013.
CM: Why do you think you deserve the title as gay ambassador for the
Matt: I believe I am someone who others can look up to and I represent a good
cause. I am able to relate and connect with others on a personal level. I am a strong willed individual with an interesting and diverse background. Namely, my past employment, both as a Marine Corp soldier and as an adult entertainer. Though gravely different choices, I am not ashamed of either. Both have made me the individual that I am today. I hope to share my experiences with others and shed positivity.
CM: Why did you choose employment in the adult entertainment
Matt: It was an honor to serve my country, but I personally felt lost and insecure
during my service in the Marine Corps, because I was gay and unable to be my
true self. My choice to begin working in the adult entertainment industry was a way to escape the reality that I was a gay man, in a military life that was unaccepting. It was my way of being OUT in a hidden community. Not to mention that I was young, and this industry pays better than a minimum wage 9-5 desk job.
CM: Why did you end your employment in the adult entertainment industry?
Matt: Over a year ago, I left the industry when I began thinking of my future. It just hit me that this industry is short lived and I want a career that I can retire from and be proud of. In the future I can see myself married and having children.
CM: What do you have to say to those people that will judge you for your past career choices?
Matt: Just because this was a choice I made in my past, it should not hinder my future career choices and the fact that I am eager to take a stand for equality and make a difference. I am much more than just my employment choices.
CM: What are your plans for the future?
Matt: I am currently enrolled at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and I intend to finish school and get my business degree.
With my Business Management degree, I hope to work in my Uncle’s law firm and continue being an activist for gay rights.
CM: How can your past experience positively affect others?
Matt: As we know now, my past experiences include wonderful decisions like joining the military and poor decisions like doing Adult films. Through it all, I've never stopped learning and growing into the man I am today. So if there is anything to take away from my story- it is that our lives and the values we hold should not be judged on our past alone. Our lives are a work in progress.
CM: Jarl and Michael, as the co-founders of the Mr Gay World USA organization, why would you choose a gay ambassador for the USA that has had employment in the adult entertainment industry?
Michael: I wouldn't choose an adult film star to be Mr Gay World USA- and I don't believe we did. We chose a young man who- much like myself, made some poor decisions that unfortunately would affect his entire life. I am a recovering alcoholic who was once arrested for drink driving and had spent years in and out of rehab- but have turned my life around since. I doubt any of us would want to be judged on our past but for who we are today and what we've learned along that way that makes us better and more healthy individuals.
Jarl: That’s a complicated question and we knew that this would cause a stir, but being gay and having had people judge me all my life, I feel that I am not going to be the one to judge. I was brought up in a very religious and conservative part of Norway and everyone judged. I decided early on that if people ask for forgiveness and want to be a better person than I am not the one to let the past hinder them. I feel that Matt is wonderful role model that will help many young gay men make positive choices by speaking about his past. So together, with the judges and our values and mission, we believe that Matt was the best choice. We
look ahead, we look forward. What’s ahead is much more important; Marriage equality, Gay adoption rights, human rights and equality for all, and Matt will be a great part of that.
I dream to inspire my peers to overcome the tough obstacles in their life and strive to be the best person they can, never
giving up on their dreams and never losing sight of who they are. Traveling to and living in many foreign countries for the better part of my childhood has allowed me to gain a respect for people living in other parts of the world that may not be as fortunate as many Americans are. I believe this makes me relatable to a diverse range of men, giving them someone they can easily look up
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