Despite the Beijing police shutting down the Mr Gay China beauty contest last year, China still sent its first ever contestant to the international segment, Mr Gay World 2010. Muyi Andiao (木易安刁, AKA Xiao Dai), a Hui-minority Kashgar native and former fashion model, ended up bagging fourth place at the world final. This year’s contest is being held this month (Wed 9 to Mon 14) in Manila – but, for reasons to do with political sensitivity, there will be no Chinese candidate. Not to be deterred, Time Out tracked down 25-year-old Muyi in Urumqi, where he runs a gay rights and Aids NGO called Xinjiang Rainbow Group. We asked him what it was like to rub shoulders with the global gay scene’s brightest and most beautiful while competing at Mr Gay World, and why these events are so important for China.
Why did you take part in Mr Gay China and Mr Gay World?
When I am 35 years old, I want to get married to a man I love and who loves me, but China hasn’t yet legalised gay marriage. It’s better to get out there and push for action rather than just waiting for other people to do it for you. And that’s why I took part.
How did you feel when you found out that you had been selected to go to Norway and take part in the international leg of the competition? How worried were you about the reaction of people in China?
Ah! I was incredibly excited; after all, I was the first ever Chinese representative at this competition. I was also a bit worried... But I thought it was really important for me to have this experience, so I took the risk. When I came back home, nothing bad at all happened to me.
What did you have to do at the competition?
The main areas of assessment were deportment, appearance, political ideas and style of conversation. During the modelling segment, it was Chinese New Year, and so I chose to wear Chinese traditional clothing and carry a folding fan.
How was the atmosphere?
It was more like a big party; a really friendly atmosphere.
Were the other contestants hot? Did they flirt with you?
Ha ha! They were all really hot, really polite, and they had great bodies. After they knew I was the Chinese contestant, they really looked after me and said they admired my courage for taking part. Of course, we joked around together, too.
How did you feel when you heard you came fourth?
I was very excited that I was able to win fourth place. I felt I had accomplished my mission. The memories will always be with me.
What is the role of beauty pageants like this?
They help to promote the rights of sexual minorities as well as improve the self-acceptance of homosexuals.
Have you followed the run-up to this year’s Mr Gay World?
I’ve been following it closely. I think it’s a pity that, because of pressure, there will be no Chinese contestant this year. I really want to go and see some of my friends from last year.
When will it be possible to hold Mr Gay China?
Maybe in 2012. China still has a long way ahead of it before Mr Gay World can be held here, but we truly believe that it can be done within the next ten years.
For more info on Mr Gay World 2011 (and to check out the contestants!), see mrgayworld.org