China to stage first gay pageant

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Beijing, Dec 11(ANI): China, where homosexuality remains largely hidden, will host its first ever gay pageant to crown the man who will represent it at a worldwide contest.

"The Mr Gay China pageant will take place on January 15 at a club in Beijing, ahead of the Mr Gay World competition in Norway in February," The Independent quoted Ben Zhang, founder of gay media and PR website, as having told a a foreign agency.

"There will be sportswear and swimsuit segments, a question and answer session, and a panel of judges will select the winner based on overall performance," he added.

Zhang also informed that the pageant will be open to anyone who lives in China - local or foreign, and contestants can apply online as well.

"Being homosexual, in general we get a lot of discrimination everywhere, so we are not going to discriminate against any contestants," he said.

Homosexuality is still a sensitive issue in China - where it was officially considered a mental illness until 2001, and Zhang conceded that some contestants might not want to be filmed at the pageant.

According to figures, the number of homosexuals in China was reported to be around 30 million, out of a total population of 1.3 billion. (ANI)

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