The final of this year's edition of Mr Gay Europe took place on Saturday in the western city of Poznan in Poland, a conservative and devout Catholic country where many do not accept homosexuality.
"I hope this will help us in our fight for the same rights as those enjoyed in the rest of Europe," event organiser Pawel Zabilski told AFP.
Enrique Doleschy, the 30-year-old German who beat six other finalists to win the title, said the event was necessary so long as gay individuals continue to be disrespected and unable to be themselves.
"As long as there's one person feeling like this, we need competitions like this to bring out the best in people and to force them, to drive them, to be better for each other," he told AFP.
A gay pride parade was held earlier in the day to coincide with the event and notably drew a couple of hundred protesters.
"It's not right to give privileges (to LGBT individuals) or elevate them to the level of families," said protester and pro-life activist Maciej Wiewiorka.
"Giving them the right to adopt when these are freaks is absurd and shouldn't happen," he told AFP.
Same-sex couples cannot marry or adopt children in Poland, which is one of Europe's most devout countries and where the Church continues to play a key social role in shaping attitudes.
Seventy percent of Poles thought homosexual relations were unacceptable, according to a 2014 opinion poll from the CBOS institute.