The world’s most populous country has crowned the first Mr Gay China – part of the Mr Gay World event – six years after an earlier attempt at the competition was shutdown by police.
The winner of the event was Meng Fanyu, a 27-year-old dance teacher, who won the public vote on Saturday at ICON Club in Shanghai.
Mr Fanyu was the tallest of the final six participants, enjoys sports and surfing, and said his central message was being true to yourself. The event included numerous shirtless rounds.
“Something like this event is a great platform to raise awareness of the LGBT community,” he told Helen Roxburgh for The Guardian. “Many people don’t really know what LGBT is, and coming out can still be difficult, so you really have to prove yourself to be an upstanding person.”
Ms Roxburgh reported that a surprising number of the contestants were still closeted in a country where homosexuality remains taboo.
In 2010 the event was shutdown just an hour before it was due to start.
But organisers this year had more than 20 corporate sponsors and said they encountered no issues with the authorities. The event emphasised the values of being healthy and positive, organisers told The Guardian.
Many finalists didn’t publicly provide their full names. They included an interracial Thai immigrant and a deaf contestant.
Talents listed included: Rainbow Sign Language, Kung Fu, Live Painting and Sexy Dance.
Mr Fanyu was said to be a crowd-pleaser with his striptease to Nina Simone’s Feeling Good.