South African TV presenter, entrepreneur and activist Louw Breytenbach was crowned Mr Gay World 2021 in a virtual event on Sunday. Breytenbach will reign along with Mr Gay World 2020 winner Kodie Macayan who was crowned at an event last month as well. According to the organisers, this will be the first time that two Mr Gay World winners will reign at the same time.
Warning: This story has details about suicide attempts and might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
The 2020 event had been postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. South Africa was scheduled to host the competitions this year. However, with the pandemic affecting international travel, both the 2020 as well as 2021 competitions were held virtually over four weekends in October.
Surviving Suicide, Cancer Scare, COVID-19…
“Winning Mr Gay World 2021, is such a huge honour. I am ready to work for our community and look forward to the difference I can help make in the LGBTIQA+ Community,” Breytenbach said in a statement after his win.
Breytenbach on his website says that he is the owner of LALT Theatre House, and Director of the National Arts Association. Breytenbach has in the past spoken up openly about his struggles with mental health, body image and his attempts to take his own life.
“Twelve years ago I tried to commit suicide a third time. Five years ago I was in a life altering car accident which was highly publicised and landed me in a mental health facility,” Breytenbach said in a post on social media after his win.
“Then I made the papers for my weight struggles and closing businesses in lockdown and so many were shocked that a year ago I cleaned houses to make ends meet and keep my staff employed. A cancer scare, Covid, and plenty breakdowns later….. We got here,” he said.
‘I Need To Love Myself’
“You will not love yourself at 6% bodyfat if you cannot love yourself at 22% bodyfat,” Breytenbach said in a post on Facebook last year. In another post, he mentioned that he had a tattoo on his thigh that had the date of his last suicide attempt.
“It took 29 years of breaking myself down to realize I need to love myself where I am at before I can love what I will become,” he said in another post in 2020.
Breytenbach pointed to the fact that of the 69 countries in the world that still criminalise homosexuality, 29 are in Africa. “I want to be a driving force to change this and challenge this along with my existing charities,” he added in his post.
Joel Rey Carcasona from the Philippines was the first runner-up and Joshuan Aponte from Puerto Rico was announced as the second Runner-up.
Kodie Macayan Bags 2020 Crown
Earlier in October, advertising executive from the Phillipines Kodie Macayan took home the Mr Gay World 2020 title. Marek Piekarczyk from Poland and Vicente Miron from Mexico ended up as the first and second runner ups respectively.
“Still processing everything. It still hasn’t sunk in yet. It may probably take me a week to fully process this reality that I am finally living my dream forever. Lord, I don’t know what to say and how to begin to thank you but I am so humbled for this blessing,” Macayan said in a post on Instagram.
“Thank you to all of you who prayed for me! Love you all! Kinikilig pa din ako na ewan. Feels like dreaming but I am not. Grit + Heart + Mind!” added Macayan.
Both competitions were judged by a panel that included Mr Gay World 2019 Fran Alvarado, whose reign was extended by a year after the postponement of the 2020 edition.
For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
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