Mr. Gay World 2019 - Cape Town
It is said that travel is one of the best education one can get. When you add 22 inspiring men together from around the world to share their struggles, their triumphs and their perspectives on LGBTQ issues - the gay travel experience becomes extraordinary.
This year Mr Gay World came to the beautiful coastal city of Cape Town, South Africa. The city and the African nation opened their hearts, minds and souls to the world. Showcasing their pride and diversity.
The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa sent out a special message to the world and to the delegates showing that this African nation welcomes everyone regardless of where one identifies on the spectrum of gender and sexual diversity.
Other supportive messages were received from the Mayor's office, the Tourism Office and other representatives of various levels of government.
The 11th annual competition brought the Mr. Gay World delegates to experience the only Pride Shelter for LGBTQ people in Africa. The Pride Shelter Trust in its six year history has already helped over 700 LGBTQ individuals facing a crisis in their lives. Rooted in a human-rights-based approach, their grass-roots organization strives to promote dignity, self-respect and a sense of personal empowerment within all individuals across the LGBTI+ spectrum. For many of the Mr. Gay World delegates this facility is something that inspired them and could relate to the need for a safe space to go to when faced with a crisis of being kicked out of one's home due to homophobia, transphobia.
The Mr. Gay World delegates then experience a Township tour in #Khayelitsha. On this special township experience the delegates were able to give back to the local community by volunteering. They did various tasks from planting gardens to painting buildings. The
specialist guides for this tour live in the area, are community leaders in their own right and the tour company has partnered with them to empower and improve lives through the tour's participation. The tour is a truly uplifting and positive experience. The heart-warming stories told with genuine passion left everyone so inspired and humbled at the same time. The delegates learned about the daily lives of people living in the township, and could not help but feel the true sense of community that exists.
Accommodations in Cape Town
The host hotel for Mr. Gay World was the President Hotel at Bantry Bay. It was a beautiful moderate hotel with wonderful service. The rooms were clean and spacious. The rooms only had power outlets for Africa, so you will need to ensure you bring the correct adaptor.
Part of the Mr. Gay World competition was for the delegates to break up into teams and come up with their own mini social media presentation on the host hotel. Oliver Pusztai - Mr. Gay Hungary and his team won the challenge. Oliver went on to win the overall Social Media challenge for his posts leading up to and during the competition.
Dinner takes off in Cape Town
During our stay in Cape Town we had the opportunity to dine at Gate 69. Hosted by Africa's most celebrated drag diva, Cathy Specific and her high flying team of Trolley Dollies takes diner theatre to a whole new altitude. The experience is a hybrid of a cabaret show incorporating burlesque with the spice and creativity of the "The Bird Cage" served up with a beautifully presented tapas inspired "high tea" light dinner. The show was hilarious, entertaining and thought provoking. While in Cape Town you will want to go.
Mr. Gay World Sports Challenge
Mr. Gay World Grand Finale
It was a star studded affair at Cape Town City Hall. The massive city hall has a large auditorium and is the same auditorium Nelson Mandela made his historic address after being released from Robben Island.
This year's competition was incredibly close. All 22 delegates were all equally impressive and the title could have gone to any one of them. However it was Janjep Carlos that became the second Filipino and Asian to win the Mr. Gay World crown. Spain's Francisco Alvarado was crowned 1st runner up, followed by Hungary's Oliver Pusztan (2nd runner up), Thailand's Cjayudhom Samibat (3rd runner up) and Belgium's Nick Van Vooren (4th runner up)
In his introduction video posted on the Mr Gay World 2019 Youtube channel, Carlos said mental health awareness was one of his main advocacies, particularly the fight against depression.
"Depression is real, and it has caused the tragic loss of lives. Depression is a real illness that can be treated if properly diagnosed," he said.
"With love and understanding of people undergoing depression, this illness can be transformed into wellness."