Ethiopian Mr Gay World Constestant May have Difficulty Returning Home After Show

Published: March 5, 2012

There are reports that Ethiopia’s Mr Gay World contestant may have difficulties returning home after the contest as a result of receiving death threats he has received.

The news of Robel Gizaw Hailu’s probable forced exile was revealed by Mr Gay World’s Africa director, Coenie Kukkuk in an interview with the Gay Star News website (http://www.gaystarnews.com).

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights are not recognized in Ethiopia; all homosexual activity is recognized by Ethiopian law as a sexual crime, and the public acknowledgement or promotion of homosexuality is overwhelmingly rejected by Ethiopian society.

By coming out in such a public manner Robel Gizaw Hailu will have ensured a hostile reception when  he returns to Ethiopia. Hailu is currently living outside the country.

According to GSN, the global male beauty pageant, which is this year held in Johannesburg, from April 4 to April 8, had been celebrating after getting its first ever black African finalists.

However, the competition was shaken a week ago when Zimbabwe’s Taurai Zhanje pulled out due to ’some very serious considerations’, which many have suggested are linked to the country’s political situation in the run up to a general election and the general homophobic atmosphere there.

Nevertheless Hailu is still competing in the contest, along with other black African finalists Wendelinus Hamutenya from Namibia and Lance Weyer from South Africa.

About Ethiopia and Gizaw Hailu’s participation, Kukkuk had earlier in the week told Mambaonline.com: “It’s significant that an Ethiopian delegate is participating. The capital city Addis Ababa is the seat of the African Union, so it sends a strong political message.”

Recently, at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged African leaders to respect gay rights.

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