Mr Gay World has returned post-pandemic with new rules clarifying that transgender men are allowed to compete.
The annual, international beauty pageant for gay men says the competition is now “open to anyone who identifies as male, using him and his pronouns and who collectively identifies as male,” PinkNews reports.
The change came after Chiyo Gomes, a UK-based drag artist, became the first trans man to compete in Mr Gay England last year.
Anti-trans campaigners attacked Gomes, leading Mr Gay England’s organizers that they are “PROUD to welcome any gay man to compete for one of our national titles.”
Mr Gay World announced it had “amended its policy to encompass the male identifying spectrum within the LGBTQ+ community” in June.
The competition returns after a two-year hiatus, with the 2021 show taking place online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 and 2021 events will both take place this year, and will be streamed on the Mr Gay World YouTube channel. Mr Gay World 2020 starts on Oct. 9, while Mr Gay World 2021 starts on Oct. 23.
Current reigning Mr Gay World Fran Alvarado will participate as a judge at this year’s event.
Alvarado, a Spanish doctor who worked on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, was a runner-up at Mr Gay World 2019, but assumed the crown from that year’s winner, Janjep Carlos, after the 2020 competition was postponed.
Of his history-making participation in Mr Gay England, Gomes told BBC News that he was aware that other men “represent a type of beauty and sexy that has been accepted throughout the media, especially gay media.”
“I am competing against an idea of beauty. And I’m scared to do that, which is exactly why I’m doing it,” he said, describing the idea of winning the competition as the most “radical, iconic” thing imaginable.
“To be trans and just exist no matter the time and the context is radical,” he added. “You keep praying that the world’s gonna be nicer to you because, I don’t know, you’ve got a trans man competing in Mr Gay England now or something. But it’s not.”
While Gomes failed to win the competition, he hoped that being named a finalist would inspire other trans people to know that they “deserve the best.”
“You don’t just deserve to be a finalist in Mr Gay England, for example, you deserve a crown,” he said. “You deserve to be cherished and appreciated.”