Cape Town – In just two days, one of the delegates from seven countries would be crowned the next ambassador and a mouthpiece for queer community rights in the next instalment of Mr Gay World 2022.
Mr Gay World held a media briefing at the Artscape on Wednesday to introduce the international delegates, which is one of the activities to be undertaken leading up to Saturday evening.
This year’s competition would see a stronger focus on social awareness with new categories added to the competition including peer evaluations of delegates’ social responsibility campaigns and the sustainability of their national projects.
The eight delegates include the South African contestant Shannon Kannigan; Roberto Carlos Molina Giménez from Spain; Jhapett Santos Raymundo from the Philippines; Czech and Slovakia contestant Kevin Drábek; Juan Jesús Castillo Pérez from Chile; José López Ramírez from Puerto Rico; US delegate Antonio Ardolino; Roberto Carlos Molina Gimenez from Spain; and German delegate Max Appenroth.
Max Appenroth, the German delegate who is the first transgender person to compete in the competition, expressed his pride in representing diversity.
Appenroth, who spoke of his social responsibility campaign on suicide prevention within the LGBTQ+ community, said this was rampant and a worrying trend.
“I want to show young queer people that there is perspective and good life ahead. As a role model I want to actively prevent suicide within the community by ensuring that places, where young queer people go for help, are opened as we do not have such places in the German-speaking regions,” he said.
Mr Gay World SA Shannon Kannigan said winning the competition would afford him a platform to break boundaries against plus-size queer people.
Kanningan said he was also concerned about the increasing slaughter of those who identified as queer and called on intensified interventions by the government and more activism, which he said were minimal.
Kannigan however said there has been progress made through legislation in the country to protect queer people.
Mr Gay World acting president Coenie Kukkuk said the contest was not a beauty pageant but a competition where the organisation was looking for an ambassador, a role model who would use their knowledge to highlight the plight of the LGBTQ+ community.