Johannesburg | The organisers of the Mr Gay World 2015 – an international pageant for gay men – today expressed concern over the safety of the lone Indian entrant after he withdrew from the contest following alleged threats to himself and his family.
Thahir Mohammed Sayyed, a part-time model in Brisbane, Australia, has pulled out of the event following alleged threats of ostracism to his family in Kochi, Kerala. Sayyed would have been the only contestant from Asian countries among 20 others at a week-long event starting this Sunday to choose the winner in the scenic town of Knysna in South Africa.
According to organisers, Sayyed, feared his religious parents in India would be ostracised. Eric Butter, who together with Dean Nelson started Mr Gay World in 2009, said the event was created precisely to combat homophobia, which appeared to have denied Sayyed his opportunity.
However, for a delegate and his family to go through this is not acceptable and we have to be sympathise with him, Butter told local media. India’s Supreme Court had in December 2013 upheld the country’s colonial-era law criminalising sodomy and transgressors face up to 10 years in jail.
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