A HUDDERSFIELD policeman has been crowned Mr Gay UK 2006.
Pc Mark Carter, 23, was voted Britain's sexiest gay man at Blackpool's Flamingo Club.
About 50 of his colleagues came to cheer him on, and he had the full backing of West Yorkshire Police in taking part in the contest.
As one of 23 regional finalists, he wore a police-style outfit with a stab-proof vest for a "dress to impress" section.
Then he stripped down to swimwear to reveal his tanned, toned body to celebrity judges including Big Brother's Lea, Su Pollard, Rowetta and Anita Dobson.
Mark says: "I am absolutely 100% over the moon.
"Two years ago I used to cry myself to sleep at night, I was so daunted by the prospect of coming out, but when I did, it was the best thing ever. I was so happy I could finally be myself.
"I came from a very straight background and upbringing, I played football, I was a sports captain, I had girlfriends.
"I thought telling people I was gay would mean no-one would want to know me, but at the Mr Gay UK final I had more people together, supporting me, in one place, than I've ever had in my life."
Compere, Big Brother's Richard Newman, said: "Mark is a deserving winner, he's articulate and full of poise and presence."
Mark's colleague Pc Maureen Hales, one of the party who came along in matching T-shirts bearing his photograph, said: "Mark is great, I knew he'd win, he's so down to earth. He's lovely."
Mark, who lives in Bradford, wins £5,000 in prizes and will embark on a year of personal appearances and photoshoots.
He came out as gay to his colleagues a couple of months after he joined the police and says he's had support from the people he works with.
Mr Gay UK is chosen via text votes and on-the-night voting, on the basis of looks, personality and 'X-factor'.
Competition organiser Terry George ,says: "Mark is a great example of a young gay man achieving his goals in life. If anyone assumed it was just bimbos that entered competitions like this, Mark's proving them wrong."
Second place winner was sailor Sam Connell, Mr Plymouth, and third was Mr Brighton, Luke Perkins, a town planner. Other entrants included a sports journalist and a lifeguard.
Su Pollard said: "All the guys were superb, and I'd have liked to take some of them home with me – I pulled a muscle, but that's about all."