Mr Gay World competition returns to SA after threats to China staff

Jordan Bruno, who was crowned Mr Gay World 2018 in Knysna
Jordan Bruno, who was crowned Mr Gay World 2018 in Knysna
Image: Mr Gay World

The Mr Gay World competition is returning to SA in 2019 after organisers said Hong Kong would not host the event “due to a clampdown by the Chinese authorities on LGBTQ-affirming events”.

Knysna hosted the 2018 event‚ won by Jordan Bruno from Australia‚ and the 2019 search for a gay role model will be held in Cape Town from April 28 to May 4.

Mr Gay World founder Eric Butter said the company organising the Hong Kong competition was based in mainland China‚ and had been forced to pull out because of threats to staff and their families.

Bruno said he was disappointed by the attitude of the Chinese authorities‚ “but their stance demonstrates why Mr Gay World is still such a relevant and important competition”.

Igor Scheurkogel‚ chairperson of the Mr Gay World board‚ said 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City‚ in which members of the gay community rebelled against police abuse‚ giving birth to the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

“In light of the Stonewall anniversary‚ Mr Gay World has a unique opportunity to highlight the homophobic response by the Chinese authorities as another clear sign that LGBTQ people remain under pressure in many parts of the world‚” he said.

Scheurkogel said that as the only African country that offered LGBTQ citizens marriage equality and constitutional protections‚ SA was an ideal replacement for Hong Kong.

Bruno said he was looking forward to returning to SA. “The spirit and inclusion of the country is strongly reflected in the values of Mr Gay World‚ and I can’t help but feel it is the perfect country to once again host the competition‚” he said.

Homosexuality is not illegal in China‚ but remains taboo in the Asian country. It does not allow the positive portrayal of LGBTQ people in film‚ television or social media and has used its laws barring public assembly to prevent LGBTQ events from going ahead‚ Gay Star News reported.

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