Navy says 'no' to Mr GAY UK 2005 contestant Richard Cowell

The Royal Navy has suggested that Richard Cowell, a Weapons Engineer in the service and the heat winner from Plymouth withdraw from the Mr GAY UK 2005 competition. Although he has not been ordered to withdraw or banned from entering, the Navy does not feel that taking part in the final is appropriate behaviour for an officer. 

Richard has been in the Navy since he was 21 and has been out since a few months after joining up. The Navy has a reputation for being one of the more forward thinking Armed Forces and were actively recruiting gay men and women at Pride events this summer. Richard is now 25 and has moved from his post on HMS Northumberland to a desk job, though this is unrelated to the competition. 

A spokesperson for the Navy has apparently said that the competition is of a sexual theme and therefore not appropriate for an officer. As we are all aware in the gay community, Mr GAY UK is a male beauty competition firstly, and the chance for the country to vote for a gay spokesperson secondly. There is nothing remotely sexual about it. In the same way as Miss World has a swimwear round, as does Mr GAY UK. 

Richard is currently unable to speak to the press regarding the competition as he has not been given permission by the Navy. It is unfortunate that he is unable to get his side of the story across. It is hoped that once the Navy realise what a positive role model for the gay community Richard is, they will actually decide to support his entry, rather than try to suppress it. 

The Grand Final of Mr GAY UK 2005 is taking place on Friday 18th November 2005 at The Flamingo in Blackpool, and it is hoped that by this time the Navy will have backed down and shown their support for Richard.