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MONTREAL, Canada -- The LGBT community will now "hail to the queer" when they see San Diego resident Jason Wimberly pass by or enter a room. Wimberly was crowned "Queer of the Year 2011" on Sunday at a ceremony during Montreal's LGBT Pride celebration after a week of competition.
The contest, which was sponsored by Tourisme Montréal, brought together six finalists who competed against each other between Aug. 7-14 in an online reality-show type environment. The finalists, who came from the United States and Canada, lived together in a loft in Montréal during the week and spent time participating in challenges, doing interviews, and trying to prove their unique style and personality to the judges.
Wimberly took first place in four of the five challenges he and the five other "Queer" hopefuls participated in, which included sex appeal, healthy lifestyle, personality, talent and community service/outreach.
The only second-place score he received was in the healthy lifestyle category, which was a shocker to many who know of Wimberly's athleticism and health-conscious choices.
Wimberly told San Diego Gay & Lesbian News last week that he had difficulty doing the "hula-hoop" competition that was a part of the healthy-lifestyle challenge, saying that he had never "hula-hooped" before.
While the contestants were scored in the competitions by a panel of judges, online vote counts were a factor in the final scoring.
Wimberly said that on Friday night he had the least amount of online votes among his fellow contestants but by Saturday at noon, he had the second-most online votes. This was largely a result of an " Action Alert" that was published on SDGLN encouraging community members to vote for Wimberly.
Following the crowning ceremony, Wimberly, wearing the oversized "Queer of the Year 2011" belt that he received as his prize, joined his fellow contestants to participate in the 2011 Montréal LGBT Pride Parade.
In a pair of very short shorts, Wimberly said that being in the parade was an "amazing" experience and joked about the large size of the belt.
"The belt is bigger than my pants for sure," Wimberly said, laughing. "But it was so great to hear the crowd scream for us and that they actually knew who we were and were so excited to see the Queer of the Year contestants."
Wimberly said that the experience was phenomenal, saying that being selected to even participate in the competition was a unique gift.
Later this week, SDGLN will report on what is next for Wimberly as he prepares to fulfill the duties as the "2011 Queer of the Year."
For more information or to see additional photos and videos from the contest, click HERE.