Mr Gay England epically shuts down transphobes amid pathetic backlash over trans man competing for the title

Chiyo Gomes, vying to become Mr Gay England's first trans winner. (Instagram)

Mr Gay England, one of the top beauty pageants in Britain for LGBT+ men, shut down bristling transphobes Thursday (17 September) amid a backlash against a gay trans finalist.

Chiyo Gomes, a 24-year-old drag artist well known among London’s queer performance scene, became a finalist for Mr Gay England 2020 in August.

But what was a cause for celebration quickly saw Gomes caught in the crosshairs of transphobes, determined to stymie his bid to be crowned the winner.

The contest’s organisers took to Twitter to respond to the criticism with a powerful and clear message: “The Mr Gay England cooperation are PROUD to welcome any gay man to compete for one of our national titles.

Shared alongside a picture of the Progress Flag, they added: “In regards to welcoming a trans man into our finals, if you are a trans man you ARE a man. Simples.”

Chiyo Gomes wants to make ‘queerstory’ as first trans Mr Gay England. 

Established in 2016, Mr Gay England judges assess the roster of finalists based on an array of criteria, from swimwear to formalwear, as well as an audience vote and a “congeniality” vote – the contestants themselves decide who should win.

Finalists are also judged on how much money they raise for two charities – The Charlie and Carter Foundation for seriously ill children with life-limiting conditions, and the mental health charity The Northern Pride Health Zone.

Mr Gay England’s grand final will be held at Boulevard Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne on 1 April 2021.

Being a finalist in a competition traditionally snarled by stale masculine ideals was “major”, Gomes said in a YouTube video tagged alongside his fundraising page.

“Imagine how delicious it would be if we made queerstory and I was the first trans man to win Mr Gay England. To hold that title. To take up that space.”

“It is often the case with change that there will be a ‘push back’ in some form or other,” Stuart Hatton, Mr Gay England’s CEO, told PinkNews.

“But it is through small steps like this that we start to see positive change. Our community is always evolving and developing and is, for the most part, accepting and open.

“We hope those who are critical of our decision will follow the competition and see that by accepting and nurturing all those in our community we can become stronger and more representative.”

Mr Gay England’s statement of solidarity with the trans community and its defiance to secede to transphobes drew praise on Twitter.

Encouraged to enter by an organiser of a queer venue he performs at, Gomes told the BBC: “I am competing against an idea of beauty. And I’m scared to do that.

“Which is exactly why I’m doing it.”

Ultimately, Chiyo mused, whether he wins the pageant or not, he wants other trans folk to know they “deserve the best”.

“You don’t just deserve to be a finalist in Mr Gay England, for example, you deserve a crown,” he said.

“You deserve to be cherished and appreciated.”