India: Mr Gay World entrant, family go into hiding

India's homophobia has cost the country its representation in the Mr Gay World (MGW) 2015 – the international pageant for gay men that seeks to establish ambassadors for LGBTQ and human rights. Over 36 hours after Thahir Mohammed Sayyed, the entrant to MGW from Kochi, went into hiding with his family, he reached out on a social media platform and said: "I am withdrawing from the contest."

"I hope the organisers appreciate the difficulties I faced. I cannot take this pressure," he said in a message, refusing to come on the phone. "I have switched off my phone to prevent getting any 'unwanted' calls," he added. 

Noemi Alberto (Director Asia) expressed surprise at the turn of events. "Thahir was very eager about this competition; however, it is totally understandable even if he withdraws," she said. The Indian Union Muslim League leader said, "I can understand it is a peculiar situation, because homosexuality is not allowed under Islamic law as well as Constitution. But the Kerala government is committed to the safety of its citizens." Read More