Mr Gay World updates rules to loudly and proudly welcome trans men to compete

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

Mr Gay World has updated its rules to make it clear that trans men are welcome to compete.

The LGBT+ beauty pageant, which is an annual, international competition for gay men, says the competition is now “open to anyone who identifies as male, using him and his pronouns and who collectively identifies as male”.

My Gay World announced it had “amended its policy to encompass the male identifying spectrum within the LGBTQ+ community” in June, saying the new rules will apply globally to all of its license holders who hold national competitions.

This announcement came after Chiyo Gomes, a UK-based drag artist, made history as the first trans man to compete in Mr Gay England 2020.

Gomes, who was the first trans finalist for Mr Gay England, was attacked by anti-trans campaigners for daring to compete. In response, the competition’s organisers said it was “PROUD to welcome any gay man to compete for one of our national titles”.

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.

Being a finalist in a competition traditionally bound by traditional 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,” Gomes said. “To hold that title. To take up that space.”

While Gomes did not win the title this year, his participation has paved the way for more trans men to compete.

My Gay World will return this year as a virtual competition, as last year’s competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Both the 2020 and 2021 competitions will be held over four weekends this October and will be live-streamed on YouTube. Delegates will pre-record their pieces.

“The decision to host an online competition was not taken lightly, as core to the yearly event is the get together of all the delegates representing their countries in the pre-finale week that allows them to bring and share their worldwide experiences from their LGBTQI+ perspectives with each other,” Mr Gay World president Eric Butter told the Star Observer.