India’s ‘Mr Gay World’ entrant goes into hiding?

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

India’s entrant to the Mr Gay World competition has reportedly gone into hiding with his family.

28-year-old Thahir Mohammed Sayyed was set to represent the country at the Mr Gay World 2015 contest in Knysna, South Africa.

However, after news of his participation broke, he has disappeared along with his family – after allegedly being ostracised by their local community.

India’s Supreme Court put the country’s colonial-era law criminalising sodomy back into force in December 2013 – and the country’s LGBT community have reported renewed anti-gay stigma.

According to DNA India, Mr Sayyed’s family were not at their homes in Kerala, and could not be reached.

Jijo Kurakose of LGBT rights group Queerala said: “We are concerned for Thahir and his family. Not only are they not reachable on the phone or their homes, neighbours say they haven’t seen the Sayyeds since the early hours on Sunday.

“All references to MGW on Thahir’s timeline on facebook are gone. We hope this is not an indication of them being in any trouble because of community pressure.

“We are from the same hometown near Kottayam and know each other. I sent some common friends to his place too, but the residence was locked.”

Nolan Lewis, director of Mr Gay World India, said: “There were plans for him to be in Mumbai this week before he left for Knysna, South Africa for the pageant. Now we don’t even know what is going on.”

All reference to the contestant has been removed from the Mr Gay World website.

The UK’s Stuart Hatton is the reigning Mr Gay World at present, having won the title at last year’s contest.