With an outpouring of votes, Meng Fanyu is China’s first-ever Mr. Gay, in the country’s only pagaent to not be shut down by police.
“Something like this event is a great platform to raise awareness of the LGBT community,” Meng told the Guardian, just minutes after his big win in Shanghai. “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.”
The Guardian reports that while Meng, 27, was a distinct favorite from the four-week pagaent’s beginning, his knockout strip tease, bow tie and eyeliner in all, to the tune of Nina’s Simone’s “Feeling Good” really cemented the dance teacher’s grasp on the crown.
Organizers have been met with strands upon strands of red tape in putting the competition together in the past, as their last attempt in 2010 was quickly curtailed by the authorities. This year, there was no resistance.
To the delight of Meng and organizers, he will be the first Mr. Gay China to compete at Mr. Gay World, the franchise’s pinnacle competition. “Next I want to go to Mr Gay World,” he says. “ I want to stand on the world stage and say to people, ‘I’m gay, and I’m from China,’ and show them that the LGBT movement in China is vibrant and active.”