The 3rd Annual Queer of the Year competition, hosted by Tourisme Montreal, has begun and continues through the end of August.
The fun and campy competition is designed to increase Montreal's visibility as a top gay-friendly destination.
"Queer of the Year is, to this day, one of the highlights of my life. It was such a remarkable opportunity for a person like me. Having grown up in a very small town in rural Virginia, I never thought that there was anything special or noteworthy about me, but Queer of the Year saw something in me." said Timothy Warguleski of Winchester, Va. "As a finalist [in the 2010 competition], I had a truly magical week in Montreal, pushing myself to my limit almost every day, and most importantly, I learned so much about myself through the process."
One of the best experiences for Warguleski was the messages from people all over the world saying how much of an inspiration he was. "Even though I didn't take home the title, I think I took home with me a lot more. It changed my life, and made me grow as an individual."
Warguleski also fell in love with Montreal including its very visible and strong gay community.
"There is such a strong sense of culture and history; every day I learned so much about our neighbors to the north. Also, if you have a thing for French accents like I do, you'll absolutely love it. There are homosexuals everywhere. And not only are they numerous, but there must be something in the water there because they are all gorgeous. I would highly recommend Montreal as a place to visit; I know I'm going back."
Entry into the competition is open through July 20, and can be completed by visiting www.facebook.com/QOTYcontest. Participants are required to submit an official application, explaining why they are worthy of the crown. Tourisme Montreal will select the finalists one by one from July 12 to July 26. Early entry is encourage to increase your odds of being selected as a finalist.
The five selected finalists will be flown to LGBT-loving Montreal for an all-expenses paid week of challenges, adventure and high-performance fun before, during and after Montreal Pride Week, Aug. 11 to 19. Organizers say that this year, the competition and festivities are going to be "harder, bolder, faster, funnier and at times completely absurd."
The various challenges will be designed as "social experiments" based on the five criteria for which QOTY is known: personality, talent, healthy lifestyle, community spirit and sex appeal. In this reality-based competition, the challenges will be shared by video and other social media to allow the public to serve as the final judges.
This year¹s competition will end with closing ceremonies and a final video episode with the nomination of the 2012 Queer of the Year on Aug. 31.
The grand Queer of the Year winner will receive a round-trip air ticket on Air Canada and three free nights at Hotel Le Germain (a gay-friendly TAG Approved property) to use for a return visit to Montreal as well as $5,000 CAD in spending cash. The four runners-up will receive a $1,000 CAD cash prize.