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Mr. Gay U.K.
finalist not deemed a model sailor

Mr. Gay U.K.
finalist not deemed a model sailor

A gay British sailor who hit the headlines for entering the Mr. Gay U.K. contest has been kicked off his base for allegedly having sex with a male trainee, The Sun of London reports. Fitness instructor Sam Connell, 22, is said to have enjoyed a consensual romp with a 20-year-old recruit in the gymnasium. When the incident came to light, Connell was ordered off HMS Raleigh in Plymouth at an hour's notice, the Sun said.

Strict "no-touching" rules ban fraternization between trainers, senior ratings, and recruits at the base, where all naval enlistees have their initial training. Navy detectives are now investigating the incident, the first in which a male trainer stands accused of sexual relations with a male recruit.

Connell, who enlisted at 16, has proved quite a challenge to the navy's tolerance of open sexuality.

Naval bigwigs were unimpressed by Connell's presence in Mr. Gay U.K. qualifyings, where he capitalized on his military career, posing in a seductively unbuttoned uniform. Following an unsurprising furor in the gay press and tabloids, the navy allowed Connell to continue his pursuit of the pageant crown. Discussing the contest, Connell said, "I only entered the contest when I was out with friends and I got pushed into doing it. The heat was like any other beauty contest, I suppose. I had to get onstage in my underwear, talk about myself, and try to look as good as possible." He did well, winning Mr. Regional Gay in Plymouth.

Mr. Gay U.K. winners find themselves stripped to their underwear for phone-line advertisements and personal appearances at nightclubs, and they get sucked into a whirlpool of VIP rooms, motorway cafes, and photo shoots. Connell's position might be challenged should he win the title.

The winner receives PS5,000 worth of prizes, including PS1,500 cash and VIP places for four people on a gay cruise in May. Connell said, "It is just like any other beauty competition, I suppose. We have to chat onstage about our likes, dislikes, hobbies, and job, then a panel of judges choose their favorite, based on looks and personality. I think my best feature is my teeth. I love them. I always want them to be sparkling white, and I just love brushing them."

The finals of Mr. Gay U.K. will be held September 29 at the Flamingo Club in Blackpool. (Stewart Who?, Gay.com/U.K.)

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